Success Story: Amputee Police Officer, Anderson, Indiana

Marty Dulworth, amputee police officer, prosthetic legThere are a few anonymous quotes floating around the internet such as, “A dog is the only creature on earth that loves you more than himself”. Another quote claims, “The loyalty of a dog proves that there is potential in humans”. These witty and humorous statements take on a much more serious and emotional tone when you read the courageous story of an Anderson Police Officer and the loyalty of his dogs.

Born in Anderson, Indiana and raised just outside of Madison County, Marty Dulworth graduated from Shenandoah High School in 1995. Marty’s graduation cap had barely come back down from the air before he left for the Marine Corp, only four hours after graduation. He served his country for 4 years, including two, six-month tours in Iraq as a 0331 Heavy Machine Gunner. He also operated a 50-caliber Browning machine gun, and a Mark 19 40mm Grenade Launcher. In 1999, Sgt. Dulworth returned home and followed in his brother’s footsteps into the Police force.

Marty’s older brother, Joe Garrett, had been a 3rd Shift Patrolman for the Anderson Police Department for 16 years when Marty decided to join the force. Marty was tested and sworn into the Police Department in February 2001, and is currently in his 13th year as a 3rd Shift Patrolman, as well as serving 6 years on the SWAT Team.

“It’s the greatest job ever”, said Marty as his face lit up. “My office is my car, and it’s not the same routine over and over. I take pride in wearing my uniform, and enjoy the interaction with the public in different scenarios. I may not be able to save the world, but I can certainly make a difference”.

Marty even met his future wife, Jessica, who worked with the Department of Child Services in Anderson, while working on similar cases together. Jessica and Marty’s chemistry quickly clicked and, as he stated with a coy smile, “She just wouldn’t leave me alone”.

Officer Dulworth recalled an incident in 2008 when he was chasing down a suspect on foot. The suspect turned around, pointed a Tech 9 pistol at him, and pulled the trigger. Miraculously, the gun jammed, and Marty was able to apprehend the fugitive who is still currently in prison. At the time, Marty was working with his first police dog, a Belgian Malinoise named Fedor. Their partnership lasted until Fedor was retired after 14 years of noble service.

Shortly thereafter in 2009, Marty was approached by another officer to see if he would consider taking on another Belgian Malinoise named Kilo, at the age of 6.Marty Dulworth, amputee police officer, prosthetic leg

“Kilo was a big, strong, and hard-headed dog, and that’s the best way I can put it”, Marty said with a smirk. “I volunteered to work with Kilo and within only 6 weeks I had him trained to be on the streets”.

Within a year, Kilo went on to take 1st place at the Dual Purpose K-9 Olympics in Peru, Indiana in 2010, beating out 105 other dog teams from around the world. The competition is a 5-day event, with up to five events per day including tracking, control, narcotics, article and area searching, and a rigorous obstacle course.

Marty and Kilo shared a very strong bond until a fateful night two years later when their partnership came to a tragic end.

On July 26th, 2012, a call went out on the Police radio just before 11 p.m. This particular type of call sends a chill down any law enforcement agent’s spine: “Shots fired, officer down”. Officer Dulworth was in Anderson, Indiana at the time of the call, only five miles away from the scene in Pendleton, Indiana.

Meanwhile in Pendleton, the suspect, having just been sent an order of protection from his wife, was arguing with her in the middle of the street when a neighbor pulled up in his car to find out what the problem was. The suspect was heavily armed with 200 rounds of AK-47 ammunition, plus ammunition for a 9mm, a flack jacket bullet proof vest, and even a gas mask. During the argument, the neighbor was shot and killed in his car. The Pendleton Police Department arrived within minutes of the 911 call that came from other neighbors. They immediately took on gun fire from the AK-47, which wounded an officer.

Marty, as well as three other Anderson units, arrived on the scene at the same time to find several other neighbors standing on their porches. They stated that the shots came from the nearby alley. One of the neighbors came out of her house and said that she was concerned that the suspect may be hiding in her garage because the side door, which was usually shut, was open.

“I deployed Kilo with me on the scene”, said Marty. “I have always lived by the mentality that I would rather have him and not need him, than need him and not have him”.

Within seconds of approaching the alley, the suspect opened 20 rounds of fire from behind a tree only 15 feet away. One round ripped through Officer Dulworth’s left ankle and foot and one round hit his right calf. Kilo was struck in the chest. Back-up officers returned fire on the suspect, causing him to retreat into the dark. Kilo, a loyal and noble friend, continued to fight and protect his handler until he fatally succumbed to his injury.

“While being assisted by a fellow officer, I was able to crawl behind a car across the street”, stated Marty. “I radioed dispatch that I had been shot and that I was in need of a medic. However, the scene was still considered a danger zone, and they were unable to come in”.

Marty Dulworth, amputee police officer, prosthetic legUnbeknownst to Marty, his brother Officer Joe Garrett, heard him on the radio. Joe jumped in his truck and made it to the scene within only four minutes. He had no idea where Marty was, but miraculously, he pulled right up next to him. Marty had tried to make a tourniquet out of an Ace bandage that he found in a first aid kit, but he kept passing out from the pain. Joe wrapped his belt around Marty’s leg, put him in his truck, and drove him out of the danger zone to the Anderson Fire Department ambulance waiting for him. The ambulance arrived at St. John’s Hospital in Anderson, Indiana where Marty was then taken by helicopter to St. Vincent Hospital in Indianapolis.

In a shining example of the power of social media, Marty’s fiancé, Jessica, and his children Ryan and Hayley, heard about the incident on Facebook as it happened, and after a call to dispatch, Marty’s family arrived at the Anderson hospital, not knowing that he was inside the helicopter that was taking off from the rooftop.

Marty would later find out that the suspect had committed suicide shortly after his wave of terror on the streets of Pendleton.

Marty underwent a total of 6 surgeries over a span of 15 days in an attempt to save his left leg. They were able to salvage the limb, although it left Marty with a “Free Flap”, which is a term used to describe the movement of tissue from one site of the body to another. The only bones left in Marty’s foot were his toes; the rest was all implanted metal.

During his stay at the hospital, the doctors and nurses discovered that Marty had proposed to Jessica prior to the incident, and that their wedding date was soon approaching. On a summer day in August, the two were married in the chapel at St. Vincent’s Hospital amongst their family, friends, doctors and nurses. Even one of the nurse’s mothers had made a wedding cake for them, and his plastic surgeon brought them a bottle of champagne.

Shortly thereafter, Marty was sent home on bed rest. After 7 months of recovery and physical therapy, Marty attempted to return to work.

“I tried to go back to work for about 6 months”, said Marty. “I lacked a lot of mobility, my quality of life was horrible, and the pain was too much to handle. I went from being a very active person playing softball and lifting weights to not wanting to get out of bed in the morning because of the pain. I had a very grim outlook until I learned about SRT’s program for amputees”.

“Walking through the doors at the program, I didn’t know what to expect”, said Marty. “I didn’t want to be labeled as handicapped and I wanted to see what life was like for an amputee. Once I saw everyone walking around and functioning like normal, I knew that this was the route for me. The instructors sat down and talked to me about everything. They showed me different types of prostheses, answered all of my questions, and we have developed a friendship ever since”.

On September 3rd, 2013, Marty made the decision to amputate his left leg below the knee.

“The decision was very easy for me”, said Marty. “Working with SRT has been unreal. Everything has been smooth, all of my questions were answered, and I was walking on a prosthesis within one month of my amputation”.

Marty went on to say that, “Work is enjoyable again, especially being pain-free. I can do everything that I used to be able to do with little to no differences”.

On December 9th, 2013, Officer Dulworth returned to work full time with no restrictions, and is a leading officer in activity with the Anderson Police Department. On February 1st, he began working with a new dog, Rico, a 15 month old German Shepherd, and is currently training him five days a week to be a Dual Purpose K-9 in narcotics and apprehension.

“Rico is a fast learner and retains very well”, said Marty. “I hope to have him certified and on the street by this upcoming May”.

Currently, Marty lives in Middletown, Indiana with his wife, Jessica. He has two children from a previous marriage, Ryan, 20, and Hayley, 16. Marty and Jessica are expecting a new baby due in September of this year.

When asked what advice he would give to fellow amputees, or those contemplating amputation, Marty responded by saying, “Don’t let the loss of your limb cause you the loss of your life. Get out there and do everything that you want to do. The only thing holding you back is you”.

SRT is honored to know and serve those who serve our country and community such as Officer Marty Dulworth and his pack of exceptionally honorable dogs. Perhaps there is more truth than we could ever imagine to the phrase, “A dog is the only creature on earth that loves you more than himself”.