Sgt. Dustin Paulsen with the Erath County Sheriff’s Office is scheduled to throw the first pitch at the Rangers Law Enforcement Appreciation Day at 7:05 p.m. on Friday at Globe Life Park in Arlington.
Paulsen was severely injured in the line of duty during a car crash on April 22, 2016.
“I was working patrol and we had a reported disturbance down in Selden and I went to back up another unit just three or four miles south of town. A vehicle came into my lane and hit me head on,” Paulsen said.
He was taken to John Peter Smith Hospital then transferred to the Baylor System. He had 11 surgeries in 14 months to repair his left foot but unfortunately, his foot wouldn’t heal so it was amputated.
Paulsen was later contacted by the founder of the Peace Officers’ Angels Foundation, Maria Barreda-Alvarado, who assisted him after the accident.
“I’m never going to pass up an opportunity, no matter what time of day or night to let our injured officers know that POAF is here for them and apply every ounce of the letter and the spirit of our mission to assist them and their families,” Barreda-Alvarado said.
Peace Officers’ Angels Foundation is a Texas organization for critically injured peace officers. It provides emotional and short-term financial assistance to Texas Law Enforcement following a serious or life changing line of duty injury.
Barreda-Alvarado set Paulsen up with Steve Hayes, an investigator for the Carrolton Police Department, who also lost his leg after being struck by a car during a traffic stop 25 years ago.
“He mentored me through that whole process,” Paulsen said.
Paulsen is a huge baseball fan.
On Tuesday, he received a Rangers jersey with the number 105 on the back that he will wear when he throws out the first pitch next month.
“It’s exciting. It’s an honor. I’m kind of nervous that they selected the only Friday the 13th of the year for me to throw out the first pitch of the Rangers game,” he said with a laugh.
Paulsen has been a sergeant in the Criminal Investigation Division at Erath County Sheriff’s Office for over four years.
“The community support has been great. I work with a lot of guys with similar on-duty injuries who didn’t get any support from their agency or their community. It’s been great through this whole process to have that support,” he said.