LIFE AFTER A NEAR DEATH EXPERIENCE
Life as a police officer can be a great but deadly career. As police officers, we kiss our family goodbye and hope that we get to see them after our shift. As police officers, we know there is a chance that we may not be coming home to our families. We leave our families to protect other families.
It is not very often that you meet someone who you would buy them a beer within a 30-second conversation. I got to talk and interview Ed Hinchey, a police officer who was shot three times in the line of duty. Ed was a police officer for Forest Hills Police Department in Pennsylvania. Ed survived his deadly encounter and now lives a great life after law enforcement but has a daily reminder of being shot.
Ed now works at Safariland and owns Thunder Roads Magazine, Pennsylvania. Safariland makes law enforcement gear, including vests, holsters, gun belts, and accessories. Here are some of the questions that I asked Ed and his responses.
1. What got you into motorcycle riding?
Ed was a young police officer at the time and was watching "On Any Sunday" by Bruce Brown and watched "The Pilot" episode of "Then Came Bronson." Both movies inspired Ed to start riding motorcycles. Ed went to a local dealership and bought a 1986 Honda 700 cruiser. Motorcycle training was not a big thing at the time, so he didn't think much about training. As soon as Ed got on the motorcycle for the first, he was hooked and knew it would be a lifelong passion. Ed was so inspired to ride motorcycles that he got on his new bike and rode from Pennsylvania to the Grand Canyon.
2. What did you want to be when you grew up? Why?
Like most of us who become police officers, he always knew he wanted to be a police officer since he was a young boy.
3. Why did you want to become a police officer?
Ed believes part of the reason he wanted to become a police officer was that some of his family was in the military. Ed was the first of his family to get into law enforcement, but now he has several of his family members in law enforcement.
4. Why did you want to become a motor officer?
Ed decided he wanted to join the motor officer team because he noticed how motor officers always had a smile on their faces. He could take his passion for riding motorcycles and turn it into a career. He also liked that no matter how bad traffic was that day, that wouldn't change his time to get somewhere.
5. Have you crashed while on a motorcycle?
Yes. While on his police motorcycle going down the freeway at approximately 70 MPH, a car changed lanes and sideswiped Ed's motorcycle. Ed and the other driver slowed down and pulled over to the side of the road. Ed did not have any injuries from the collision. Due to Ed's extensive training in motorcycle riding, Ed was able to keep his motorcycle upright.
6. What did you learn from the collision?
A slight inattention on the road can cause serious problems. The inattention can be on the car side or the motorcycle side.
7. Are you still working for the Forest Hills Police Department?
No. Ed was shot three times approximately 16 years ago. Ed was shot twice in the chest, which was caught by the bulletproof vest, and once in the hip, which destroyed his hip. Ed had to have multiple surgeries to reconstruct his hip to walk again.
8. Did you enjoy your time with the police department?
Ed enjoyed his time so much that he would be back out on the beat if they could fix his hip. Ed wanted to help people when they were at their lowest point in life. Ed loved being able to make a difference in people's lives for the better.
9. Do you still ride motorcycles?
Yes. Ed owns two motorcycles, a Harley Road King and a BMW R1100RT. Ed enjoys both bikes but prefers to ride the Harley for long-distance rides.
10. What are you doing now?
Ed is working for Safariland, where he travels all over the United States and talks to people who were saved by Safariland equipment. Safariland created a position just for him to travel the U.S. and speak to other police officers protected by Safariland equipment. As soon as Ed retired from the police department, he was immediately hired by Safariland.
Ed also bought a magazine company called Thunder Roads Magazine Pennsylvania. Thunder Roads magazine has a lot of great information, including dealership specials, current events, gear reviews, and charity events.
11. Are you enjoying what you're doing now?
Ed loves what he is doing and enjoys being able to travel and meet other police officers that were saved by Safariland equipment. Ed also rides his motorcycle to different places to meet these police officers. Ed is getting paid again to ride motorcycles and enjoy his motorcycle passion.
12. Any incredible stories to tell?
One morning while heading to work at the police department, he rode his motorcycle through a canyon. Ed was going around a sweeping turn at 70 MPH. Ed struck a metal full-size fire department wheel chalk with his bike as he was going around the corner. When Ed Struck the wheel chalk, both of his tires came off the ground while leaning into a corner. When the motorcycle tires contacted the ground again, he could feel the back in of the motorcycle sliding out. Ed continued to hold the throttle open, and the bike corrected itself. Ed knew that if he let off the throttle, he would more than likely crash. Ed continued to the station, and like any other rider who just went through something like that, he counted his blessings.
13. Any future goals?
Ed wants to continue to work for Safariland and continue traveling on his motorcycle.
I spent approximately an hour talking to Ed. It is not every day you get to speak to someone who was shot three times and should have died. Ed and I had something in common. We were both motor officers for police departments. Ed and I could have spent many more hours talking about different things and “war stories.”
Even though Ed was disappointed that his career in law enforcement ended, he fell into a great spot with Safariland to continue to help people in law enforcement.
Even though we go through tough and sometimes near-death experiences, we must learn to focus on the future and how we can live our lives to the fullest. Ed has learned a lot from being a police officer and it has helped him to move on and live a great life.