DALLAS — Nearly a year to the day, Dallas Police Officer Crystal Almeida is speaking publicly about the attack that nearly took her life and ended the life of her partner, Rogelio Santander.

In April of last year, Santander and Almedia were called to Northeast Dallas Home Depot for a shoplifting call. The man accused of stealing opened fire, hitting both officers and a loss prevention officer at the store. Almeida was hit twice; both officers were taken away in critical condition.

“First, I would like to thank God for giving me the strength to heal as fast as I have and for allowing me to continue living my life,” Almeida said from a podium at the Dallas Police Department Headquarters.

Just weeks after being shot, Almedia returned to work. On Thursday, for the first time, she spoke publicly during an award ceremony. She was recognized by the Theodore Roosevelt Association.

“We thank you for being a part of our team, being part of our community and being an outstanding member of the Dallas Police Department,” said Dallas Police Chief Renee Hall.

The Theodore Roosevelt Association recognizing the young officer for her bravery and her strength.

“I was the happiest when I was able to return to work and learn new things, both in the gang unit and fugitive. It gave me the sense of being normal again,” Almeida said.

For Almeida, being normal means being a police officer – a good police officer. “I look forward to the knowledge I get every day and to do the thing I love the most, helping people,” Almeida said.