MIAMI (CBSMiami) – Wounded Miami-Dade Police Officer Jaime Pardinas said the training he received decades ago in the police academy saved his life when he was stabbed four times in Texas last week by a criminal who he was transporting to Nevada.
There were emotional moments at a news conference at Miami-Dade Police headquarters. Pardinas’s voice broke as he thanked now retired officer Norm Gregorisch for the training he received in a law enforcement class in the police academy. Gregorisch was Pardinas’ instructor.
“I told his wife to tell him that it all came back to me,” said Pardinas. “Every bit of training. Every bit. Every word he said. It helped me survive. For that I will be eternally grateful.”
Reached by telephone, Gregorisch told CBS4’s Peter D’Oench that he was “very flattered” by Pardinas’s comments.
After hugging fellow officers at Miami-Dade Police headquarters and with his sister by his side, Pardinas said, “For me I was not going to go out and I was not going down. It is what we are trained to do. We are trained to survive.”
“This is what we do” he said. “What I’ve dedicated my life to do is to protect the citizens of Dade County and deliver the best job I can deliver.”
Pardinas and his partner, David Carrero, had stopped at a Walmart store 20 miles northwest of Dallas to pick up a battery charger. When Carrero was inside the store, police say serial rapist Alberto Morales used his eye glasses to stab Pardinas three times in the back and one in the neck.
At the news conference, bruises could be seen on Pardinas’s neck.
“Yes, it is bruised in the neck from the fight and it is migrating down,” he said. “There are mostly puncture wounds in my back and to my chest. I feel good. I am leaking every now and then but they plugged me up and I keep on going.”
With that comment, Pardinas laughed. But he realized how serious the situation was when he was attacked on February 11th.
“I was hoping this would never happen,” he said. “In my 28 years, I always woke up, put on a badge, put on a gun and walked out and said it may happen.”
Miami-Dade Police Director J.D. Patterson Jr. said, “Jaime shows us the caliber of people who work for this organization and we’re grateful for such people to give 28 years of service to this community because public safety is nothing we take lightly.”
Pardinas will always cherish his homecoming last Tuesday at Opa-Locka Airport.
“It was very emotional for me,” he said. “It was very comforting to know that all those people ere there for me.”
“You seem to love your job?” asked D’Oench.
“I do,” he said. “This is what I dedicate my life to.”
Patterson said that procedures for transporting prisoners would be reviewed.
Pardinas said it could be at least a few weeks before he returns to work.