Good people come forward, help injured ex-cop

I guess one of the hardest lessons a young person must learn in life is that life isn’t fair. There are some good people who get the short end of the stick and some bad people who continue to thrive. It’s just the way it is.

The recent saga about former Fulton Police Officer Paul Phillips is riddled with irony. If you are not familiar, here’s the short version from an story late last week:

Paul Phillips, former Fulton County police officer who was wounded by a Duluth police officer in 2008, holds his daughter, Raleigh, in this Facebook photo.

Paul Phillips, former Fulton County police officer who was wounded by a Duluth police officer in 2008, holds his daughter, Raleigh, in this Facebook photo.

“Phillips had served with Fulton County police for 12 years when he was shot Feb. 1, 2008, by a Duluth police officer, Jay Dailey.

“Police say a drunken Dailey was off duty when he crashed his car in Sugar Hill, then flagged down a woman and asked her to call 911. Moments later Dailey inexplicably went on a rampage, smashing her car window, pepper-spraying her and threatening to kill her, according to police.

“Phillips, driving home from side job, stopped to intervene. Dailey shot him in the left arm. Phillips returned fire, hitting Dailey in the hand.”

Dailey was sentenced to 60 years in prison. Phillips lost the use of the arm and had to retire from law enforcement.

Over the years, TV shows taught us that getting shot in the arm was no big deal. Marshal Dillon never took a sick day when he got shot on “Gunsmoke.” A gulp of whiskey and some TLC from Festus (creepy thought) got him back in the saddle before the next episode.

There was a little bitty hole in his arm, and the next day he was back to what he did best — secretly meeting Miss Kitty after the bar closed.

Unlike on TV, bullets do real damage

Bullets now are designed to maximize damage once it hits your tissue. The velocity they travel cause them to spin, bounce, change shapes and destroy everything in their path once they hit something. It’s what they do. Sometimes an entrance wound can be in the shoulder and the exit wound is through the leg.

Phillips took what retirement he had built up with Fulton County and moved on. He had a job with a friend but economic conditions put him in position of losing his home. It was scheduled to go on the auction block March 1.

In the movies, the lender might see the circumstance of this man’s reward for saving that woman’s life and say “OK, let’s work something out. You’re paying half and maybe we can go longer without kicking you out.”

Like with Marshal Dillon, the dramas you see on TV and film often don’t match what plays out in real life. For Phillips and his family, the prospect of losing their home was real.

Folks step up to help — and so can you

But this week people who’d read the story or saw it on TV came forward. One was Buckhead businessman Joel Shapiro, who got the family current on their mortgage with a check for $7,408.12, according to the TV story and accompanying video.

Anyway, I started thinking that maybe some other TV people should know about this so I wrote down the website for that show on Sunday nights, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” It comes on with that guy with the funky hair who helps families in similar situations like this.

So please go to the show’s website and take a moment to nominate Paul Phillips and his family. You never know. If they got enough of these, maybe they will take a look.

It would be really, really fine if this happened. But even if not, and you tried, I’m thanking you in advance.

Additionally, friends have set up a fund to help Phillips and his family. “The Officer Paul Phillips Fund” was established at Wells Fargo Bank, 1042 Peachtree Industrial Blvd. in Suwanee.

Thanks, folks!

16 comments Add your comment

Cop Supporter

February 9th, 2011
8:59 pm

Thank you for the article Lt. Steve…I was planning on making a donation this Friday when I get paid and now I will go pick him for the home makeover.


February 9th, 2011
9:01 pm

Best wishes to his family..I hope will be well.

Pam Smith

February 9th, 2011
9:20 pm

On Monday 2/7, I went to the Wells Fargo bank on Canton Rd in Marietta on to make a donation to the Office Paul Phillips Fund. After waiting about 15 minutes, the bank employees said that the fund had not been set up yet. I was the second person that day that was turned away from that Wells Fargo location without being able to making a donation. I’m not sure if someone did not set up the fund properly or the AJC published the information before the fund was actually set up. I’m glad other people were able to help him and his family in time.

Name (required)

February 9th, 2011
9:34 pm

I am not financially able to contribute, but best wishes to him.


February 9th, 2011
10:15 pm

The Peachtree Industrial branch mentioned in the article was definitely already accepting donations as of 2/4 (last Friday). Perhaps you can call them?

This is Mrs. Norman Maine

February 9th, 2011
10:32 pm

Lt. Steve, you left out some details. Why Extreme Home Makeover? Their current home looks lovely, wouldn’t it be better to continue to solicit donations or use your space to promote fundraisers or something? Perhaps a goal could be to raise enough money to pay off the mortgage or at least get it paid off for a couple of years. I’ve read that once folks get those new, extravagant homes with EHM, their utility and property tax bills go up. putting them in the same bind? Does anybody else have any more info on this?


February 10th, 2011
12:17 am

Great story. Best wishes to this man and his family. It’s so refreshing, for lack of a better word, to know there are such generous people out there, during these hard times, helping others, any way they can. It’s actually what he was doing when he was shot ~ helping someone out of a tough situation. But now that Toby Keith song is running thru my head ~ cattle drive, Texas Rangers, Kitty’s place…

Roy Bristow

February 10th, 2011
4:08 am

Why not make this easy for those of us essay challenged. Print a synopsis of the Blair situation that can be copied to the application. The story mentions Officer Blair was coming from his second job. Why do we pay so little to the people who protect us? If I had to wear a gun to do my job I would want top dollar. Are we so selfish that we couldn’t spend a few extra pennies each day in the form of a tax specifically for those who protect us? This includes all emergency personnel. If you have to dig me out of a crumpled car, burning house or from where I am hiding from the bad guy I want you to be smiling and singing because you have the best paying job in town.


Roy Bristow

February 10th, 2011
4:13 am

Sorry about that Officer Phillips.

What, no edit button?

An Observer

February 10th, 2011
6:39 am

I know Lt. Paul Phillips personally and must say that you will not meet a nicer and more sincere guy. What he needs now, more than anything, is a good job that pays a decent salary so that he and his family may get on with their lives. So often we pay little attention to the fact that the men and women in law enforcement put not only their lives, but the security of their families on the line every time they put on the uniform and leave home. You will notice in this story that Paul Phillips was returning from a second job when the shooting occured. I currently know, and have known a number of police officers at different agencies, and without fail, it is necessary for them to work a second job just to make ends meet, These are the people who always show up when we need them.
Now Lt. Phillips needs us…..will you step up and help?


February 10th, 2011
7:59 am

Couldn’t Mr. Phillips apply for an administrative position with one of the police forces? I would think his experience would be a great asset to someone… and he is certainly dedicated to helping others. The picture of him and his daughter is great.

Great Stuff!!

February 10th, 2011
8:12 am

Thank you Officer Steve for soliciting kindness from strangers from which we all get by from time to time.

BTW: I never got that Dillon and Kitty were having an affair. Was I too young to get it, or does everything go over my head, even today, at 60?


February 10th, 2011
9:04 am

I’d like to add on to Mrs. Norman’s caution about involving Extreme Makeover, as it can ultimately leave a family in the same or even worse condition before the changes. Here’s a link to the Wall Street Journal article about the problems, which include higher taxes, utilities and difficulty in resales –

I do hope that Mr. Phillips’ situation improves and commend people for wanting to help. I just don’t think that Extreme Makeover is the best way to go about it.

Old School

February 10th, 2011
11:43 am

Maybe that Atlanta guy who redecorates homes that aren’t selling could do a “Designed to Stay” segment and remodel/redecorate the family’s entire home. Nearly every homeowner I know would love to have a do-over when it comes to kitchen & bath design and general home decor. That way they could stay in their neighborhood without the unnecessary added burden of home overkill.

Scott in Sandy Springs

February 11th, 2011
12:39 am

Why couldn’t he be assigned administrative tasks within the department? PBA benefit organization, or 911 call operator, or something similar so that he could have a good job, support his family, and maintain his original oath to serve the community? I really feel like it was the Fulton County Police who dropped the ball here.


February 14th, 2011
2:25 pm

You’re wrong about that lawman! Me ‘n Mathew never did no cavortin’. It was that Quint Asper you was referrin’ to.