By Mike Cruz | mcruz@scng.com | San Bernardino Sun
March 14, 2018 at 8:37 pm

San Bernardino County sheriff’s Lt. Jim Considine, who returned to law enforcement after losing a leg because of the injuries he suffered during a nightmare pursuit in the county area of Victorville in 1997, was honored Wednesday night at the Ontario Reign game.

A lifelong hockey fan, Considine was the hero of the game at the Citizens Business Bank Arena and was invited to drop the puck to start the game between the Reign and the Cleveland Monsters. During a pre-game ceremony, a video about Considine’s experience was shown to those in attendance.

A field training officer in 1997, Considine said he and then trainee Rob McCoy were on patrol when they assisted another deputy with a pursuit that started in Phelan. The man who was fleeing pulled into a residence, looked like he was going to get out of the vehicle and started firing an assault rifle, he said.

The first shot hit Considine in the hip. As the deputy was falling back, the Maglite flashlight he was holding took the second round — a square shot that embedded in the flashlight.

The Maglite dropped to the ground, and the suspect kept firing at it. Considine crawled to a tree and returned fire, he said. He was shot three more times before the suspect, who had multiple guns, was killed.

“I had never been in anything like that before,” he said.

Prior to that incident, Considine had never fired his service weapon in the nearly seven and a half to eight years that he had been a deputy.

One of the gunshots went through Considine’s foot and traveled up his right leg, shattering his bones in his leg. The injuries were extensive, and he retired from the department in 1998.

“I had 24, 25 surgeries,” Considine said. “I never really recouped.”

After saving his leg as long as he could, Considine said he made the decision in 2002 to have his leg amputated because he wanted his quality of life back. In July of that year, his leg was removed below the knee and he got a prosthetic leg.

Four years later, Considine returned to the Sheriff’s Department, becoming a patrol deputy in Yucaipa and then a detective. He also became the first amputee to go through a very rigorous SWAT school.

The Sheriff’s Department, he said, was very supportive from the executive level all the way down.

“The biggest motivator? You couldn’t do it without them, my kids and wife. My wife was very supportive,” Considine said. Today, he is commander of the department’s Criminal Intelligence Division in San Bernardino.

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