In a room filled with hundreds of law enforcement officers –Jesse Hartnett’s act of bravery stood out from the rest.
During a National Police Defense Fund dinner in Howard Beach, NY — the 33- year-old Philadelphia police officer– was named Man of the Year, for his heroic actions.
“It’s nice to be recognized,” he told NBC 10, during his first on-camera interview since the attempt on his life earlier this year.
On January 7, Hartnett was shot by a gunman in an ambush-style attack, while sitting in his patrol car. Despite bleeding heavily, he returned fire and chased the suspect down.
Hartnett addressed some criticism he’s received and warned the public not to rush to judgment. “False information gets out there…people don’t give police full credit for what they deserve,” he said.
While he cannot discuss details of the events because of the pending court case, Hartnett says he rarely thinks back to that night and tries not to replay it in his mind.
“I’m sleeping well”, he adds.
His main focus now is physical therapy, to get the use of his hand back. Hartnett suffered nerve damage from the shooting and has limited use of his left arm. He’s already had eight surgeries and is on the road to recovery.
This has been a real eye-opener, Hartnett said several times during the interview, and he’s eager to share his story with young police recruits.
“You have a split second to react to something…. your training does kick in at that moment.”
Hartnett says his military experience was a “key factor” in helping him in that moment– as well as all of his police academy training.
When you lose function of something that you’re accustomed to using in your daily routine — you take things for granted when you don’t have a disability, he also told NBC 10.
Hartnett says for that reason he’d like to get more involved with volunteering – and his work with Wounded Warriors is something he cherishes.
Despite all that’s happened, Hartnett says he wouldn’t change a thing.
“I love policing”.
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