Exclusive: BPD Officer Seeks PTSD Treatment - KULR8.com | Montana's News Leader | Billings, MT

Exclusive: BPD Officer Seeks PTSD Treatment

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BILLINGS, Mont. -

A Billings Police Sergeant is on paid administrative leave while seeking treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following a shooting in 2005.

Sergeant Ronda Fox is still suffering from symptoms of PTSD, but instead of letting it take over her life and career. She's decided to step up and admit that she needs help.

"He ran back to the car and hunkered down between the door and started firing at us," said Fox about the 2005 shooting.

In 2005, Fox and three other officers got into a shootout with 25-year-old Justin Toland after Toland refused to drop his gun and opened fire.

"I don't remember how many shots. I remember him going down."

It was later determined that the shooting involving the four officers was justified, and that Fox fired the fatal shot.

"I can tell you everybody at that call lives with guilt. Could have, should have, would have," said Fox, who still suffers from flashbacks and a lack of sleep because of the incident. "I'm a strong women. I've been living with this for seven years. I think the hardest part is the not sleeping."

But Workers Comp for public safety workers will not cover treatment for PTSD.

"Since I did not sustain a physical injury in the shooting incident, it would not be covered under workers comp because it wasn't a physical injury that you could see. They didn't recognize PTSD."

So fix will be paying for the treatment through her personal health insurance. But just this week, a fund was set up to help any public safety workers who find themselves in Fox's position.

"My goal is to change legislation. To help anybody in public safety that's not covered to get PTSD counseling. That's my goal." And the stigma attached to PTSD isn't stopping Fox. "I know that people are going to say, 'well, if you're under stress, how can you make these decisions?' I do this everyday. I'm just coming forward and saying, I need help."

With the full support of her department and Police Chief Rich St. John, Fox is confident her role as a leader and her decision making won't be compromised.

"I got my job. And I'm good at it. But like I said, I want to be 100 percent... I know it's going to be very emotional and very hard. But, I'm ready. I'm ready."

There is no "Uniformed Services PTSD" treatment facility here, so Fox plans to travel out of state to seek help from Dr. Frank Gallo, a retired Rhode Island Police Officer who now specialized in treatment for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

If you'd like to donate to the fundraiser to help Sergeant Fox and other public safety workers seeking treatment for PTSD, an account is set up at the Rimrock Federal Credit Union. If you are interested, ask for Brandi if you plan to visit the branch, or send a check to 952 Central Avenue, Billings MT 59102 noting "BPD Officer PTSD Fund" as the recipient.

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