BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. – It has been a grueling year of recovery for Brevard County Sheriff's deputy Casey Smith.
Smith was shot last August during a prostitution sting.
Just a few days after the year anniversary of the incident, he's putting the uniform back on.
"I look back to that night, and maybe think back maybe there were a few things I could have done differently that would have changed the outcome," said Smith.
Smith was shot in the abdomen.
His injuries almost cost him his life three times and forced him to undergo numerous surgeries, the last one being his worst.
"My last surgery was rough. That was a rough one and very, very painful," said Smith.
Through it all, he never had a doubt about returning to work.
In fact, he says that if he could go back to the streets tomorrow he would if they let him.
When asked how he could return with such certainty after near death he says, "you wouldn't understand unless you're part of it."
"I love doing it. It's my job. I wanted to come back and that's what we were working for since day one in the hospital," said Smith.
For the next few months, Smith will focus on community service, public relations and work his way back slowly.
"Just take it one day at a time and one step at a time."
But don't let him fool you. His heart is ready to get back into the neighborhoods.
"I don't have fears of going back to the road you know. It would be hard going back to undercover, but you know..." Smith said, chuckling.
Jokes aside, Smith says his shooting should serve as a reminder that no routine traffic stop is ever routine.
"Especially new deputies and new officers. They need to realize that this is for real. You know, it's not a game. And you can't take for granted ever when you're walking up to somebody's house," said Smith.
Smith says the support from his family, work family and the community have helped through the recovery process.
There's no timeline on when he will get back to the streets.
In the meantime, he's studying to get his sergeant's license.
The test is early October.