A new, gripping account of Officer Dane Norem’s struggle with a suicidal man and road to recovery is a must-read for all LEOs
Yesterday at 1:06 PM By PoliceOne Staff
RIVERSIDE, Calif. — Five years ago, Officer
Dane Norem was on patrol when he came across Javier Hernandez straddling
the top of a fence on an overpass.
Norem wrapped Hernandez’s leg
in a bear hug and lifted his feet, hoping to keep him from jumping onto
the busy highway below. Hernandez kept pulling away from Norem, but the
officer was determined to not let him fall.
Hernandez then pulled out a knife and stabbed Norem seven times.
“When I got struck in the face, it didn’t really hurt,” Norem told the Desert Sun.
“It felt like I had been punched and it felt wet, like a water balloon
had popped. I came to figure out later that was my eye.”
kept stabbing Norem, striking him in the eye, cheekbone, shoulder, arm
and elbow. Hernandez had then pulled away from Norem so hard that his
pants were coming off and he was about to go over the fence onto the
Backup officers arrived and some citizens pulled over to help. But
even after multiple people attempted to pull Hernandez down, Norem was
the officer who kept a hold of him. The tug-of-war ended when another
officer arrived with a shotgun and hit Hernandez with a less lethal
beanbag round, causing him to collapse onto the overpass.
nearly lost his eyesight and his life on Oct. 25, 2012, but fought to
become an officer again. Three years and multiple surgeries later, Norem
returned to full duty just before the San Bernardino terror attack.
would have been very easy to give up,” Norem said. “I could have just
medically retired, but instead I kept working to find an answer. And
now, because of that, I get to keep doing what I love to do.”
has never spoken about the details of that night, fearing he would
jeopardize the prosecution of Hernandez. In August of 2015, Hernandez
was sentenced to life in prison with the eligibility of parole in 18
years. The Desert Sun’s detailed account of the incident and the
officer’s road to recovery is worth reading in its entirety, and you can find it here.