Tampa, Florida - Tampa's police chief may have seen her career flash before her eyes as she watched the tip of her finger float in the river. Jane Castor suffered a boating injury last month that could have kept her from firing her gun ever again.
Chief Castor jokes about it now, saying there goes her retirement plans to be a hand model. But jokes aside, she admits her injury is one that could have been prevented.
"Somebody called me, I got distracted," Castor recalls. "And it just happened before I knew it: cut off the tip of my finger."
It wasn't just any finger: her trigger finger was sliced just below the nail. The accident happened as she lowered her boat onto the boatlift on Sunday, June 9.
"It's something that should not be done. I reached for the fly wheel, I knew it's something I should not do," says Castor.
To wear her uniform and a sidearm, Castor would have to re-qualify shooting her Smith & Wesson revolver. Castor began training, drawing her weapon 100 times a day and building memory strength using her middle finger.
Just five days after her accident, Chief Castor stepped into the gun range to test her new skills.
"You start at a target three yards, seven yards, and 15 yards. Shoot 40 shots, 40 rounds on a timed course. I scored 38 of 40."
She qualified at a master level. Chief Castor is the first to say her injury is no big deal.
"You have individuals who lost limbs in the Boston Marathon, soldiers who come back from war without limbs... the tip of my finger is not a big issue."
The chief says surgery in a few weeks will help her regain feeling in that finger.
Castor says her doctor did give her some good news. He told her she'd be able to learn how to play the piano, something she's always wanted to do.