By now, you’ve most likely heard the story of how Jeffersonville Police Officer Justin Salisbury went above and beyond the call of duty to help Daniel White. It’s a story we think is worth repeating, celebrating and updating with an ending no one else seems to have.
In May 2012, White was assaulted while walking home. The male assailant beat White so badly, his hearing aid was jolted out of his ear, never to be found again. That night. Salisbury was one of the officers who came to White’s assistance.
In late 2014, White’s attacker was convicted. During the trial, Salisbury learned White, who is mostly deaf, had gone without his hearing aid since the assault and for two long years had been unable to get assistance to replace the much-needed device. Without the hearing aid, “it is horrible. I can’t hear anything at all,” White said. “One ear is completely deaf … and the other is affected by nerve damage,” rendering him 93 percent deaf in his “working” ear.
Once Salisbury understood the direness of White’s situation, “(Justin) asked, ‘Do you mind if I help you get one?’ … And then everything completely exploded from there,” White said with a wide smile while sitting at Orange Clover in Jeffersonville.
After researching the cost, Salisbury opened up a Go Fund Me account online with the hope of at least raising enough to buy White a “halfway decent” hearing aid. “I didn’t have that kind of money laying hanging around,” Salisbury said. “So, after I got off work one day, I just set (the Go Fund Me account) up and sat down and typed the story of ‘Hearing Daniel White.’ Within an hour it had, like, $700.”
As donations poured in from all over the country, Salisbury discovered White was a graduate of Jeffersonville High and had completed one year at the University of Louisville. He’d lost a job he’d held for four years after being struck by a car and now lived with his mother, unable to receive disability income because he had partial hearing in one ear.
When the fundraising efforts ended in November 2014, the online donations totaled $12,923 with another $590 given via cash and checks. Additionally, Conn Hearing of Jeffersonville donated a new hearing aid. Dr. Sana Aburob of Gentle Dental Care in Shelbyville, Ky., donated her services to White, which was greatly needed. Hanes Auto of Jeffersonville donated a moped.
“This is the first time I have ever really heard of a cop going above his duties,” said White. “Justin actually stopped in and said, ‘Let me see how I can help someone who was down on his luck.’ I’ve gone from not being able to hear to being able to hear. Before I was walking everywhere. Now I am riding a moped everywhere.”
Although he still hopes to find employment, White said, “Life has gotten a whole lot better.”
It has for Salisbury, too.
“I was in a position to help Daniel. … I just think more so he really helped me out. He helped me kind of get back on track career wise in this profession.
Prior to helping White, Salisbury had been at a “low-point emotionally.” Anti-police bias had reached an all-time high and seemed to be intensifying online and in real life. “If you let this job consume you, you will be just burnt up with hate. I think I just needed someone like Daniel to kind of come into my life,” Salisbury said.
Five years prior, Salisbury almost walked away from law enforcement all together. He didn’t love his job as a police chief in a small town, his father had been stricken with cancer, his best friend was battling cancer and another friend had been recently paralyzed.
Unable to find happiness in the small Southern Indiana town, Salisbury applied for a police officer position in Jeffersonville. He and his family “felt loved down here,” but back on the streets, “I think I just kind of worked but didn’t really embrace the job. Daniel helped me to get that back,” he said.
“I think that people would be amazed at how many officers are willing to go that extra mile if the situation arose. And in turn, a lot of officers – like me – can take some things from someone like Daniel,” Salisbury said, blinking back tears. “He doesn’t owe me a thing. He’s paid me back. Trust me.”