Through the lens of a cop’s wife: officer-involved shooting

Local

Early Thursday afternoon, gunfire could be heard just outside the KSN news studios. 

Wichita’s latest officer involved shooting doesn’t just impact those on scene. Two wives of Wichita Police officers say the whole thin blue line family can feel the effects after an incident involving one of their own.

“Our first thought as a wife is, ‘Is it my husband?’ And then you take the deep breath that it’s not, then you feel guilty because its somebody else’s and you’re taking that deep breath that yours is safe. Then you go into that, ‘Do we know that person? Is it someone we’re close with?” Dana Schmitt said.

Schmitt is the wife of a WPD street officer. She leads a page on Facebook, Kansas Going Blue, as well as a private page specifically to help spouses of law enforcement officers with everything from home security to how to handle the more difficult aspects of police jobs.

Schmitt also is one of the first to offer help to families after their officer is involved in an accident.

“It impacts everyone differently and it impacts you more if its somebody you know,” Schmitt said.

Schmitt and other wives, like Stephanie Kowaleski, are known to make meals or offer help in any way the family needs in a vulnerable time.

In February 2017, when WPD officer Brian Arterburn was hospitalized after being hit by a fleeing suspect in a stolen vehicle,  Arterburn’s mother mentioned wanting a toaster at the hospital to make toast with.

One of the police wives was happy to oblige.

Though they have a thick network of thin blue line family to fall back on in times of need, the comfort of that doesn’t make bearing the news of a recent OIS any easier.

“When things like today happen and you see it on the news, its like a reality. And it’s right in your face,” Kowaleski said.

KSN expects to hear more about the condition of the injured officer at tomorrow’s media briefing.

If you are a LEO wife interested in being a part of the network, email kansasleows@gmail.com.

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