BUFFALO, Iowa - Buffalo Police Chief T.J Behning has undergone one surgery, with several more to come to repair the severe damage to his legs after a man plowed a stolen garbage truck into his squad car.
"Right now, he's stable. I actually spoke with T.J. this morning. He's got a lot of damage to both legs, but they're looking to repair, hopefully both," said Sgt. Alex Griese, second- in- command at the small town department.
Both of Behning's legs are broken, and one is is more severely damaged than the other.
According to the Facebook post of Heidi Behning, the Chief's wife, "his calf muscle was torn off. He lost the skin of the front side of his leg and so he will need skin grafts. He will have three more surgeries this week", she wrote.
"Infection is the major concern".
Sgt. Griese says he has viewed Chief Behning's body cam video, and it appears to show him being hit by his own squad car door, and possibly being run over by one of the squad's tires.
The Chief was attempting to deploy stop sticks and was outside of the vehicle, when police say the suspect, Logan Shoemaker, rammed the garbage truck into the squad. The police squad then hit the Chief.
"He's in pain, but he's strong, and he's going to pull through," Sgt. Griese said about his friend and boss, who is a husband and father of two.
"He's extremely loved, you can walk around town and see signs posted for him," he said.
Across the street from Buffalo Elementary, there's a handmade sign that says "Buffalo Kids Love U, TJ".
Principal Heidi Gilliland says the 20-year police veteran is a mentor and friend to school kids here.
Not a sit-behind-the-desk kind of guy, Behning would regularly post his squad at the school or at bus stops in the morning and when school let out for the afternoon.
"He has always, his entire career, protected kids at Buffalo. He's a great guy," said the principal, who added four crisis counselors with the Davenport School District helped with questions from the kids today.
Cards with candy, and "We love you" written in crayon will soon be headed the Chief's way.
"These kids look up to him, almost as a father. He's been nothing but a teacher and a leader to me, to our community," Sgt. Griese said.
When he heard about the incident Monday morning, "My heart sank. Unfortunately, in our line of duty, you never know when or if it's going to happen."
You can see the full interview with Sgt. Griese below.