Hard to Kill: Dennis Eddy

July 06, 2020

On February 9, 2008, at approximately 2242 hours, Bakersfield Police Officer Dennis Eddy and his partner, Officer Joseph Cooley, attempted to contact a parolee gang member in the 900 block of Feliz Drive in Bakersfield, CA. Unbeknownst to these officers, the suspect was armed with two firearms. When Officer Eddy and Officer Cooley attempted to contact the suspect, the suspect ran from the officers and led them on a foot pursuit through a residential neighborhood in southeast Bakersfield. The two officers became separated and they attempted to establish a perimeter to keep the suspect contained. Officer Eddy took a perimeter position less than 50 feet away from where the suspect was hiding.

While Officer Eddy was standing at his perimeter position, the suspect emerged from behind a parked vehicle and moved toward Officer Eddy. Officer Eddy observed the suspect and deployed his taser to take the suspect into custody. Simultaneous to this, the suspect raised a firearm and shot at Officer Eddy, striking him once in his chest. Officer Eddy was wearing body armor and the bullet did not penetrate his vest. Officer Eddy transitioned to his duty firearm and returned fire at the suspect. The suspect continued shooting at Officer Eddy, and Officer Eddy sustained a gunshot wound to his leg, knocking him to the ground. This injury was extremely serious as the bullet severed a portion of the artery in Officer Eddy’s leg and he began bleeding profusely.

Despite being seriously wounded, Officer Eddy summoned the strength to get back on his feet and attempted to relocate the suspect. Officer Eddy observed the suspect and managed to return fire at him. Officer Eddy sustained a tremendous loss of blood. He felt a pumping sensation in his right leg and became lightheaded. Officer Eddy was concerned he was going to fall, and he knelt down on the ground.

Bakersfield Police Department Officers Billdt and Littlefield arrived on the scene and provided medical assistance to Officer Eddy. The two officers remained with Officer Eddy until ambulance and fire personnel arrived.

Since Officer Eddy’s injury, he has demonstrated tremendous tenacity and commitment to return to duty, which has not been easy. Officer Eddy spent hundreds of hours in the hospital and has had several surgeries, including having a portion of his injured leg amputated. Officer Eddy has spent hundreds of hours in physical therapy preparing to return to full duty. He returned to full duty in only ten months from the date of the incident that nearly ended his life.

Despite the severe injury Officer Eddy suffered on February 9, 2008, he distinguished himself by never quitting. He demonstrated exceptional courage by continuing his efforts to stop an armed, violent suspect who had just shown his willingness to shoot police officers. Officer Eddy managed to get back on his feet and return fire to prevent this violent suspect from further injuring himself or other officers and from escaping into the residential community. Therefore, Officer Eddy was awarded with the Bakersfield Police Department Medal of Valor.

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