WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. - The source of former Palm Beach County Sheriff's Deputy Mark Bohne's inspiration is a painful one.
He was saved by his bulletproof vest in 1986, when a suspected thief opened fire.
"Once I ran out of ammunition, I jumped over my car to hide my head," said Bohne.
During his recovery, friends held benefits and helped make up for income he'd lost.
Then another deputy was shot and Bohne brainstormed.
"We decided instead of having to get together and put a benefit together every time an officer needed assistance, let's just form an organization," said Bohne.
The Law Enforcement Assistance Foundation, or LEAF, helps nearly a dozen officers recover from physical and mental trauma every year in Palm Beach County.
They raise money through private donations and a charity golf tournament.
With four deputy-involved shootings just this month, he's been on high alert.
"It seems like it's the wild west out there," said Bohne.
His group offered assistance to Lt. Richard Burdick, who was shot this week by a man who police say had just killed his girlfriend.
Burdock killed the suspect.
But Bohne says in general, for some officers, a deadly shooting is the beginning of the end of their career in law enforcement.
"It's not easy to deal with. I know officers in my past career who had to leave police work because they could never get past the fact they shot and killed somebody," said Bohne.
Copyright 2012 Scripps Media, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
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