Police Officer says he's blessed that his badge saved his life

By Lori Brown - bio | email

OAKLAND, TN (WMC-TV) - This story gives new meaning to the phrase badge of honor. After all, it is a badge that is credited with saving Oakland Police Officer Joshua Smith's life, after a man shot him at point-blank range.

"It felt like someone hit me in the chest with a baseball bat," Smith said, speaking out for the first time since the shooting on Christmas Eve.

"I couldn't breathe, I couldn't catch my breath. At that point I was worried about finding a wound and stopping the bleeding," Smith said.

But there was no wound, and there was no bleeding, thanks to his steel badge. Officer Smith says it all started at one in the morning Christmas Eve when he spotted a car weaving wildly on Highway 64 in Oakland.

He pulled the car with an expired temporary tag over and ordered the driver to get out for a field sobriety test. The passenger also got out, and swung a knife at Smith. As Smith subdued the passenger, the driver pulled a gun out and shot Smith at point-blank range.

"As soon as the shot happened and I fell back, I was thinking, defend, defend, defend," Smith said.

Smith fired back, the driver screamed, and they took off.

Smith says doctors told him, without his badge, the wound to his chest could have killed him.

"It could have been where my family was making funeral preparations instead of my kids opening gifts with their dad and my wife."

Before the shooting, Smith says he didn't even like the badges which he considered bulky.

"{I said, they} weigh the collar down....It wasn't really just complaining, it was a complaining statement."

Smith says he got everything he wanted for Christmas.

"My life and my family. Yeah, I got everything I needed. Everything I wanted."

The company that made the badges heard about what happened. They're going to put it in a nice box and give it to Officer Smith, so he can keep it. They do plan to give him another badge.

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