APD officer shot in the line of duty inspires 2018 ‘Behind the Badge’ calendar
More than a year after Anchorage Police Officer Arn Salao’s chance run-in with now confirmed serial killer, James Ritchie, the recovering Police officer sat down for an interview with KTVA.
On November 12, 2016, Salao responded to a call downtown for an unpaid cab fee. Ritchie, who wasn’t on APD’s radar at all, opened fire, shooting Salao four times before Salao fired back, killing Ritchie.
“Early on, I had quite a bit of fear, thinking about not being able to walk again or not have the use of my left foot,” Salao said Tuesday.
His fear eased through time, physical therapy, and overwhelming community support. Salao is now on desk duty, working to get back to patrolling the streets of Anchorage -- he hopes by Spring.
"I'm able to run, jump, sit, walk, squat -- all those things that I used to be able to do," said Salao.
Salao inspired the release of a 2018 "Behind the Badge" calendar by APD's nonprofit Anchorage Cops for Community. The project was designed to give the public a glimpse into the lives of APD officers outside of the uniform.
Salao hopes the takeaway is that officers are normal people too.
"I'm someone's child, I'm someone's father, I'm someone's husband, I'm someone's friend," he said.
He never planned to find himself in a confrontation with a shooter, he never planned to spend more than a year in recovery and he never planned to inspire his colleagues through his own struggle, but Salao says the calendar means a lot to him.
"I guess all I can really say is that it's an honor and that I'm very proud. I'm very thankful to have had this opportunity because not everyone gets a chance to be an inspiration," he said.
Through community sponsors, Anchorage Cops for Community purchased 1,000 calendars to sell at $20 each. You can purchase one here: https://www.anchoragecopsforcommunity.org/