Deanne Stein, News 9
OKLAHOMA CITY -- A deputy, critically injured while working off-duty, lodges allegations against the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office.
Major John Waldenville was shot in the face during a robbery on May 20, 2011. He was making a $6,000 bank deposit for Cattlemen's Restaurant when he was ambushed by two men.
Keonta Prince and Christopher Baker are charged with shooting with intent to kill and armed robbery.
Since the shooting, he has worked to overcome his injuries and was even an Integris' Courage Award recipient.
But despite his grueling recovery, he says what hurts more is the lack of support he has received from the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office.
"Taking the bullet was the easy part," said Waldenville. "I don't want people to think I'm insensitive to what happened to me, but that was just the beginning."
The beginning of a long road of hurdles. He said since the shooting, his wife Marjorie received several text messages from Sheriff John Whetsel, assuring them that he would receive worker's compensation benefits. But the Waldenville's say that never happened.
"It breaks my heart for what I gave to the department and actually gave to the county and citizens of this county," Waldenville said. "I just felt like I'd literally been thrown to the curb."
Waldenville said he did receive some worker's compensation benefits through Cattlemen's, but only part-time benefits totaling $161 dollars a week, which is about to run out. From the county he says, not one penny.
"I felt like I was nothing more than a number on a balance sheet in the liability column," he said.
Waldenville also says the health care benefits through the county are about to run out and on top of that, he says they discovered thousands of dollars missing from various fundraisers held in his name.
I'm not being greedy, that's not my intent," said Waldenville. "My intent, like anybody else, when I was in my law enforcement capacity, is to do what's right, for any citizen to do what's just."
"I think he's been treated horribly, by the people who supposedly loved him and thought of him as family," said Marjorie Waldenville, John's wife.
But despite all he's been through, Waldenville says he continues to make strides in his recovery, always looking ahead.
"No matter what happens to you, don't ever lose your faith because sometimes that's all you're going to have," he said. I don't give up. I think that's what's gotten us to this point, and faith. I'm still not giving up."
The Waldenville's say they have a worker's comp attorney working on their case, which is currently in litigation. They also plan to hold another fundraiser in the near future.
Meanwhile, the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office released a statement Sunday, denying any wrongdoing.
Read the entire statement below:
"The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office has been informed by members of our local media that one of our most respected and loved employees, Major John Waldenville, recently held a news conference detailing his concerns on several issues. First and foremost I can tell you that Major Waldenville is, and will always be family to us. John nearly lost his life in an ambush and he is a hero to us all.
We understand a claim was made about workers compensation, health care, and long term disability. Issues of workers compensation, disability, and health care are handled by the Oklahoma County Human Resources Department, not the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office. Oklahoma state statutes make very clear how counties must handle these situations and the law has been followed. We would defer any further comments regarding these issues to the Oklahoma County Human Resources Department of the Board of County Commissioners.
On the issue of money that was raised for Major Waldenville, the Oklahoma County Fraternal Order of Police handled the fundraising efforts. The FOP maintained detailed accounting of every penny that was raised totaling $142,205.79. The funds were deposited in a separate account and every penny raised was given to an attorney representing the Waldenville family on October 6, 2011.
We would have preferred for any issues the Waldenville family had to at least contact us first so we could have sat down at the table and discussed specifics. Major Waldenville is still an employee of the Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office and we look forward to his return whenever he is able. Over the past 18 months several co-workers have made attempts to keep John involved with his law enforcement family at the sheriff's office and to have him come visit.
The Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office misses our dear friend, he is loved, and his leadership is missed. We look forward to being able to see and work with him again." Mark Myers, Public Information Director, Oklahoma County Sheriff's Office.