Former El Paso police officer now starring on CBS in ‘Hunted’
EL PASO, Texas (CBS4) —
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The first thing you notice about Amanda Fry is her show business smile. The first thing you learn about her is she never thought she would be on network television.
Amanda was born for a different role.
“My mother was a New Mexico State Police officer, my father was a New Mexico State Police officer and then later on my step-father was a state police officer. It was how I was raised,” said Fry. “I was raised with a sense of service to the community."
As a child, Amanda moved all over New Mexico. It all depended on where her parents were stationed. Amanda attended three different high schools with her junior year spent at Las Cruces High. Amanda then went to college at UTEP. Her career path was as much about duty as it was choice.
“I studied political science and criminal justice,” said Fry. “What a shocker, huh?”
After college Amanda planned to sign up for the El Paso Police Academy. But a department-wide hiring freeze meant Amanda would have to wait two years for her dream in law enforcement to come true. Finally, after eight months in the Police Academy, Amanda realized her dream. Her mom, who had become the first Hispanic, female police chief in the country, proudly pinned a badge on her daughter’s chest.
What no one knew then is Amanda’s law enforcement career would be over in 18 months.
In 2013, Amanda was dispatched to a domestic disturbance call near Doniphan and Redd in El Paso’s Upper Valley. It was 4 a.m. and Amanda’s training taught her to wait for backup.
“I was driving down the street, I hadn't even gotten to the address yet, I happened to be looking around the area,” said Fry. “I looked down the alley and he was sitting along the wall, covered in blood."
The suspect took off into a ravine, thick with vegetation. Amanda gave chase.
"It was dark so I had my flashlight out and, like a horror film, I just kept running,” recalls Fry. “Then the light came up and all of a sudden he was facing me and he was actually coming to attack me."
With her backup still not on scene, Amanda called on her training. She fired her Taser but only one of the prongs struck the suspect. It knocked him back, but not out. The two would continue to fight and rolled to the bottom of a ravine. Somehow Amanda managed to get handcuffs on the suspect. She thought the worst was over.
She was wrong.
"He actually slipped his handcuff because he did not have a left thumb on his hand.”
No thumb on his left hand. What are the chances?
About as long as what would happen next.
"During the struggle, the handcuff chain wrapped around my thumb and while we were falling the torque from his other arm pulled everything in my hand in a way that it couldn't be repaired," remembers Fry.
Once again, what are the chances? A man with no left thumb would nearly tear Amanda’s left thumb off. After multiple surgeries Amanda was forced to medically retire from the El Paso Police Department at the ripe old age of 25.
Amanda admits depression sunk in. All she ever wanted to be was a cop. It was everything she knew. It was the family business. All her friends were in law enforcement. Even her husband. She asked him to apply for a transfer to Arizona. She wanted to leave the Borderland and make a new start.
Boy, did she.
It all started with an e-mail from her father-in-law. (Who, surprise, surprise is also in law enforcement). He had heard CBS was looking to cast people with law enforcement backgrounds in its new show, ‘Hunted.’
Amanda applied and then got a call that changed her life.
"The entire thing is action-packed, adrenaline-filled the entire time," said Fry about ‘Hunted.’ "You've got regular people who are trying to get away from law enforcement."
In the show are nine, two-person teams who are given an hour head start. If they can avoid law enforcement for 28 days, they win $250,000.
Amanda says being cast for ‘Hunted’ was inspiring and life-changing. She has no complaints and she’s glad to once again be back on the hunt.
"It's much better to be the hunter than it is to be the prey," said Fry.
Who knows, maybe Amanda’s really bad break four years ago has led to the biggest break of her life.