Talking with Commander Derek Frick in his office at NOPD Headquarters, it’s hard not to pick up on the good vibes he’s giving. The 25-year-veteran has a clear and renewed sense of life and purpose, and he’s the first one tell you.
“I tell everybody – if you believe in prayer and if you believe in miracles – look at me,” he said. “That’s why I’m here. I’m just blessed.”
Eight months ago, Frick was shot to the neck while driving an unmarked police vehicle in the 4200 block of Alvar Street. The unknown shooter took off in a tan SUV. Frick was rushed to the hospital where he spent nearly three months recovering, including a stint in ICU fighting a serious infection.
“Not knowing just how serious the injuries were was overwhelming,” said Frick.
After surgery to remove the bullet and to place a “donated” neck bone, Frick spent weeks wearing a halo that served as an external skeleton that helped the new bone heal while holding up his head. There were more hours spent being challenged by the rehab techs at Touro Infirmary so he could get stronger and eventually walk unassisted.
The road to recovery wasn’t easy, but it was the unending support from family, friends, fellow law enforcement officers and the community that kept the 25-year NOPD veteran going.
“I remember going back to University Hospital for one of my follow-up visits after I was released,” said Frick. “One of the security officers told me, ‘Man it was like a zoo in here.’ There were so many people trying to come and see me, pray with me and offer their support to me and my family. It was awesome.”
Frick returned to duty in May and is back in the saddle as commander of the Management Services Bureau, which includes the Records and Identification, Property Management, Human Resources, Budget Services and Administrative Duties divisions of NOPD.
“I’ve always said I will be back. By the grace of God and the doctors who took care of me. It’s a blessing to be back. I’m excited, I’m happy and I’m ready to get back doing what I love doing. My heart is here. I love being the police and I love protecting the citizens of New Orleans.”
His advice to fellow officers: “Stay prayed up.”