PHOENIX (3TV/CBS5) -- The trooper injured in an incident that sparked the first-ever Blue Alert in Arizona is reflecting on attacks on police across the country and here at home. James Casey was shot in the face while conducting a traffic stop in 2014.
"The purpose of these emergency alerts in general is to do 2 things; to protect the public and to protect the public servants."
Casey had pulled over a driver for a window tint violation. As he tried to confirm the identity of one of the passengers, he was shot. "I was afraid that if I touched it and felt how bad it was, I would have gone into shock and died," says Casey.
As he was rushed to the hospital, a Blue Alert was activated with the suspect vehicle description posted on electronic freeway signs. After a week-long manhunt, investigators made arrests in connection to the shooting. The alleged gunman was convicted and then sentenced this year.
Since then, Casey has endured more than a dozen surgeries. The physical and emotional scars remain. "Because I have bullet fragments still lodged next to the maxillary and carotid arteries, I can't have an MRI," says Casey. "[I have] short-term memory issues. Anger, you know, PTSD."
Casey retired in 2018. He believes being a cop is more dangerous now than ever before, and he's concerned about recent attacks on law enforcement officers. "I know the long road they have ahead," says Casey.
On Tuesday, a court security officer was shot outside the federal courthouse in downtown Phoenix. Then on Thursday, two Arizona DPS troopers were ambushed as they prepared to serve a warrant. "For the officers, I would definitely say you better have your head on a swivel," says Casey.
Casey is now writing a book about his time as a DPS trooper. He recalls the moments where he saved a choking baby and revived a man who was overdosing. "I basically saved his life with chest compressions until Phoenix Fire got there," remembers Casey.
As he learns of high-profile incidents from around the country pointing to potential officer misconduct, Casey says he wants the public to refrain from lumping everyone behind the badge in the same category. "I think some should show a little more compassion," says Casey. "There are bad people in every job. Unfortunately, when the bad ones are police, they're magnified."