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News covering policy and issues related to city and county governments in the Ozarks.

Injured Springfield Officer Aaron Pearson, now Retired, honored at Council Meeting

Cora Scott
City of Springfield

A retired Springfield police officer who was seriously injured on the job was greeted with thunderous applause and multiple standing ovations Monday.

Aaron Pearson was honored for three-years of service and commended for his recovery following the events of late January, where he sustained career ending injuries while investigating suspicious activity.

Council member Justin Burnett described Officer Pearson’s recovery as miraculous and an example of “divine intervention” and “skilled medical care”. 

“The term hero is not one that we use loosely. But is one that you have earned and for that we are thankful," Burnett said.

Council Member Kristi Fullnecky also praised Officer Pearson’s courage and thanked all Springfield service members.

“I continue to be amazed by the sacrifice of our police officers and firefighters. I don’t know why they do it, but I am very thankful for them. And I am very honored to wear your bracelet, 1641,” she said.

1641 references Officer Pearson’s badge number.

Pearson did not speak at the ceremony, which preceded Springfield City Council’s regular meeting. Amid the thunderous applause and presentation to Pearson of the council’s resolution, Mayor Bob Stephens could only exclaim “wow,” acknowledging the emotional atmosphere.

While the city of Springfield's workers' compensation plan is paying Pearson’s salary and medical bills, the community has raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to offer additional assistance. 

Pearson officially retired July 28. It came months after being shot in the head just under the left eye, which he lost. He also broke his jaw from the fall and suffered a traumatic brain injury, according to Springfield Police Spokeswoman Lisa Cox.

Following about five weeks at a rehabilitation hospital in Atlanta, Pearson has returned home to continue treatment. Family and officials have cited incredible progress in the months since his injury.  He has completed his physical therapy and does Cross Fit two times a week. Pearson is continuing his speech therapy sessions, which he does three times a week.