LOS ANGELES (CBSLA) — When LAPD Officer Nick Wiltz gears up for work, it’s not that simple.
He’s the only field officer with a prosthetic leg.
KCAL9’s Jeff Nguyen spoke to Wiltz about his return to work and his new challenges.
How’s it feel to be back in your uniform?, Wiltz was asked.
“It feels amazing,” he said.
It’s a story that is Only On 9.
Wiltz didn’t start out like this.
CBS2/KCAL9 first met him in July of 2016 — when he graduated at the top of his class from the academy.
He graduated following the deadly shooting attacks against police officers in Dallas.
“If something tragic happens, you don’t get a moment to pause. You have to get back out there to serve the community,” he said at the time.
Only two-months later, Wiltz lost his left leg in an off-duty crash. He was hit by a car while riding his motorcycle in Fullerton.
Doctors didn’t think he was going to make it. But they didn’t know Wiltz’ spirit and determination.
“Sadly, tragedy strikes everybody but you kind to have to like I said figure out how that is going to fuel you to help you get you towards your goals. To get you to help everyone around you,” he says.
Wiltz says his family helped him to get past dozens of surgeries and procedures before he was able to get back into working shape.
Today, two-months after returning to full duty, Wiltz met with new LAPD Chief Michael Moore He was at the hospital the night of the crash when doctors said Wiltz’ chance of survival was slim.
“It reminds me so many times, life tells you that you can’t and it really is, so much of it is, about saying yes I can,” Moore told Nguyen.
Wiltz initially did light work at Wilshire Division because he hadn’t gotten his prosthetic leg yet.
His training coordinator says he used crutches to get around and sometimes less than that.
“And I would look up and see him going up the stairs with one leg,” says Sgt. Mario Rojas.
Wiltz joined the police at a time when the use of force was often questioned.
He says he wants to help repair some of the bad feelings of the past.
“You’re making an impact on the community if you’re doing it the right way. I’m not going to let injuries hold me back from achieving those goals.”