Officer Britt Sweeney (R) pictured with Officer Ben Kelly
One Year On
Aug. 19th, 2009 was my sworn date. Once I started, I wanted nothing else. I’m here. I’m going to be a cop. You know at any point it could all fall out from underneath you. And for me it did. My first day on the street was Oct. 1. My incident happened Oct. 31, so I had been on the street for thirty days. I had, at most, 16 shifts when it all happened.
Did you realize Officer Brenton had been shot?
Initially, I didn’t know about Tim. I radioed in the car that shots had been fired. I got out of the car. I was looking through the V watching him [the shooter] drive off. I returned fire. It was at that point I thought, why isn’t Tim helping me? Why isn’t he out here? So I looked into the vehicle. I don’t know if my memory won’t let me keep the visual, but I knew he was dead at that point.
It seems that being called a hero is one of the hardest parts for you?
It’s extremely hard. I think for the majority of officers, you don’t do the job for those moments, and you certainly don’t feel you’re a hero because you survived. For me, the fact that I lived and my partner died, of course, there’s a part of me that feels I failed him.
Nobody in Seattle or on the force knows me outside my incident and that’s one of the hardest parts for me. I want people to know me for who I am, not as “that officer.” But, every piece of our life shapes who we are and honestly, I’ve come to accept that Britt Sweeney is that officer. I have learned that it’s okay. It’s not going to be everything.
Is the job is everything I thought it would be? I guess it’s a whole lot more than I thought it would be. All things considered, I would do it again in a heartbeat. I really would.