While Yuma Police Department Det. Eric Fell may juggle countless job-related responsibilities over the course of a year, he does so to keep his family, community and nation safe.
In addition to being a fraud crimes detective, Fell, who has been at YPD for almost eight years, is an arson investigator and a logistics officer on the Special Enforcement Team. He has also been in the National Guard for the past 11 years and is currently a captain and a company commander for a logistics company based in Florence, Ariz.
Fell said that he's most grateful for his wife of nine years, Miranda, and their two young sons: Joshua, 4, and David, 2.
“She, of course, does have to be an understanding woman to deal with all the competitors for her time, which there are a lot,” Fell said about his wife.
“The nice thing, though, about having family in the area, is when our schedules permit, we're able to drop the boys off with grandma and grandpa and we're able to go out and spend a night together.”
Miranda, who works as a home health nurse five days a week and also runs a small jewelry business, said that although Fell is often busy with work, it's just the reality of his job.
She noted that she has really never known anything different throughout the course of their relationship – they started dating shortly before he deployed to Iraq for eight months.
Also, Miranda said, three days after their first son was born, Fell was deployed to Kosovo in 2009. “It made the time go by fast because I was having to deal with a new baby, but then it was interesting because he missed the whole first year so then when we had David, it was like he was a first-time parent again.”
Fell said that he was supposed to deploy next year to Afghanistan, but that was put on hold. “It's not always a pleasant thing for him to have to drop everything and run but as Joshua would say, ‘He's out fighting the bad guys.' It comes with the territory,” Miranda said.
“He's a G.I. Joe, and I say that with the utmost love and affection. He loves what he does and helps keep us safe. I just try to give him the least amount of grief as possible when he's got to go or stay late or whatever. I think I'm a little more graceful now than I used to be. I think I threw a couple of pretty good fits in the past, but it's just something that you have to live with.”
Miranda shared that before they had children, Fell would volunteer to work the holidays in place of other YPD officers who had children so they could spend time with their families.
“I would go out on ride-alongs with him too so we would still spend the holiday together... That was always interesting to kind of be an observer and kind of see what he does.”
Fell said that although he now mostly has holidays and weekends off unless he is needed, he can get called out for any type of investigation, arson, or anything that the Special Enforcement Team is called out to. Not to mention, there's always the chance that he could get deployed again.
When faced with risky calls, Fell said, “You're always thinking of your family, but I find myself thinking more about other people's families because you're seeing what their situation is there. You want to help them because you'd want that to be done to your family. It's my job. I'm not reckless, but it's my job to be put into dangerous situations.”
Miranda shared that she is thankful for the amount of training that he has gone through, but despite all the training, she said she still finds herself worrying about him from time to time. “I think I'm OK with the dangerous aspect to his job but then if he's like half an hour late getting home I'm like, ‘Where is he? Did he get shot? Did he get into a car accident?' And then I realize maybe I'm not as OK with it as I thought.”
Fell said that despite all the risks, he gets out of bed every morning because he truly enjoys what he does.
“I love my job,” he said. “I love helping people out and finding those people who think they've gotten away with the crime. Most people who do fraud do it because they think they can get away with it. ... They give you every reason in the book: the economy, bad habits... but in the end they did something wrong and they thought they got away with it.”