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Buffalo Police Chief T.J. Behning back on duty nearly three years later

Published: Aug. 4, 2020 at 5:30 PM CDT|Updated: Aug. 4, 2020 at 10:30 PM CDT
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BUFFALO, Iowa (KWQC) - Buffalo Police Chief T.J. Behning is back in uniform nearly three years after a suspect in a stolen garbage truck hit his police SUV, which pinned and badly injured his legs.

It happened on Sept. 25, 2017. That day, Chief Behning’s wife received a phone call from Behning’s cousin.

“It was a Monday morning and the phone rang. I thought it was odd that T.J. was calling me from his cell because he doesn’t usually call me during that time. And I answered it and it was his cousin Greg Behning. And he said ‘hey Heidi it’s Greg'. And I knew by the tone of his voice that it was not good,” Heidi Behning said.

Chief Behning was airlifted to a hospital in Iowa City, which set off an extensive road to recovery, but his goal, according to his wife, was to eventually return to uniform.

“The trauma surgeon up in Iowa City said ‘is it your goal to go back to work and T.J. said absolutely. And he goes well let’s just put that as a goal but know that it’s gonna be a lofty one,‘” Heidi said.

24 surgeries and two years and 11 months later, Chief Behning was cleared to return to the Buffalo Police Dept. following Monday’s city council meeting.

“He called me and I could tell by the hello. He said hi, and I said hi, and he said they said I can go back. And I’m like oh my god. I was so happy. He sounded so happy,” Heidi said.

She said the support from the Buffalo community and beyond is what made the recovery successful for Chief Behning and his family.

“Without the support of the community, I don’t think we would be where we are today.,” Heidi said, “Our family is coming out stronger than we went in. That amazes me and I know it’s because of the support of everybody around us.”

Chief Behning will be back on patrol at the end of this week, or by next week.

The suspect in the stolen garbage truck, Logan Shoemaker, was sentenced to up to 58 years in prison.

Welcome back Chief.

Posted by Buffalo, Iowa Police Department on Monday, August 3, 2020

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