From intensive care to Walsall commander for Covid-surviving police officer

A top police officer who spent two weeks in intensive care with Covid-19 has been put in charge of fighting crime in Walsall.

Chief Superintendent Phil Dolby eventually recovered and was able to be discharged from hospital
Chief Superintendent Phil Dolby eventually recovered and was able to be discharged from hospital

Chief Superintendent Phil Dolby has been made the new commander for the borough of Walsall just over a year after his "brush with death" due to coronavirus.

The 46-year-old needed to be put on a ventilator after he was admitted to Worcestershire Royal Hospital last March but is now back in full service - and has already been involved in a footchase through Walsall town centre.

Ch Spt Dolby officially said he had been delighted to meet the community and his new colleagues.

"I’ve received a really warm welcome and I’m incredibly excited to be joining such a great team," he said.

"Policing, like other areas of public service, is tough at the moment.

Chief Superintendent Phil Dolby has taken on the role of commander of the borough in Walsall

"Demand, complexity and vulnerability keep us stretched, yet I am convinced that neighbourhood policing is a vital part of any success we are going to have as a police service and I have always regarded it as a specialism.

"Walsall has an exciting variety of communities and people.

"Along with them, and our partners, I look forward to facing these challenges with together."

Ch Spt Dolby has been with West Midlands Police for 25 years and was a detective chief inspector in Dudley before being made the head of the force's criminal justice services at the beginning of 2020.

It was just two months after starting his new role that he contracted Covid-19.

Phil Dolby pictured while a DCI in Dudley in 2015

The father of three spent around a fortnight in intensive care, most of the time heavily sedated, and was put on a ventilator as he was unable to breathe for himself and the oxygen levels in his blood had plummeted.

He was discharged in front of applauding NHS staff on April 21 and it took two more months of recovery before he started a phased return to work.

However he again had to take more time off due to mental health issues and returned to duties again in January.

In March he revealed how he still suffered flashbacks and had no memory of first being taken to A&E, with his first recollection being held down as the tube was pulled from his throat.

After a period in charge of the diversity and inclusion team, Ch Supt Dolby two weeks meeting people in Walsall and getting to know the area before officially taking charge on Monday.

He battled Covid-19, spending nearly a fortnight in intensive care
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