SOUTH JORDAN — Police officer Stevan Gerber is back in a patrol car doing what he loves.
It’s a major milestone for the South Jordan officer who almost lost his life while working with the Joint Criminal Apprehension Team two years ago.
On Aug. 26, 2010, Gerber was shot in the leg while serving an arrest warrant for Troy Cabibi, 29, who had violated his parole. The shooting happened at a small apartment complex, 3064 S. 300 East, just before 1 a.m. JCAT officers could see Cabibi was inside the apartment, along with other people.
After failing to answer the door when JCAT members announced their presence, the officers forced open the door with a battering ram. The team was just outside the doorway when the shooting started. Officers pulled Gerber from the gunfire, keeping him alive.
"It is kind of crazy to think that it's been two years. There are days when it feels a lot longer than that and days where you go, ‘Really? We're already there?'" Gerber said.
He has gone through the events of that night over and over, and says it was just a bad situation. “It wasn’t because anybody did anything wrong. Everybody did everything right. It’s just that’s the dangerous part of the job,” he said.
The road to recovery hasn’t been easy. Gerber has made numerous doctor visits, undergone four surgeries and hundreds of hours of physical therapy. "I went through a period of being bed ridden, to being in a wheelchair, to crutches and a cane, to getting my sea legs back and walking again," Gerber said.
When the officer had enough strength, he went back to work behind a desk. Between surgeries, he helped with training and speaking assignments.
He had a goal to get back on patrol before the two-year anniversary of the shooting. He accomplished that on Aug. 13.
"It was kind of emotional leading up to it," Gerber said. "I was getting ready, trying to remember where everything went, make sure that I still fit in my uniform and that it looked good."
It took him a good hour to put the pins on his uniform and make sure they were straight, he said.
Going back on patrol wasn’t an easy decision to make. “I thought, 'I don’t think I should ever have to work that day again, it’s like my second birthday. I should just get it off.' But then I decided against that, because it’s just finding an excuse not to work on a day where something bad happened to me,” he said.
Gerber also doesn't want to let the man who shot him take away another minute of what he loves to do. "You shot me and you messed me up, but I'm still out here doing it," he said.
He credits two things for keeping him motivated: his family and the determination that nobody will take him away from the job he loves.
His ultimate goal is to return to SWAT and JCAT, which he hopes to accomplish in six to eight months.
“I miss working with those guys, and I want to get back to doing it,” he said.