- Associated Press - Monday, January 4, 2016

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) - Oklahoma City police Sgt. Wilner Laguerre “was just out there doing my job” in the recent wintry weather when a woman called police after 10 p.m.

“I’m alone, and I’m about 80 years old,” Patricia Ross said in the voice message she left. “And when these storms come, my telephone doesn’t work.”

Ross said she has health problems and was concerned she wouldn’t last more than a couple of hours in her home without heat if the power was lost. It had gone out earlier and she was afraid it might again.

Laguerre was not far from her home in northwest Oklahoma City, so he called from his patrol car.

“She was insisting to see somebody,” he said. So he obliged and the two made a connection.

“When I met Ms. Ross, my connection was a reflection of my mom through her face,” Laguerre said Tuesday.

“We began talking to each other and we made lots of good memories,” he said. “I’m a very talkative person.”

Laguerre said he wanted to find a way to calm her when she told him, “If there is another power outage tonight there is no way I’m going to make it. I’m gonna die.”

Her cordless phone required power, so without electricity it was useless.

The police sergeant went in search of a phone that didn’t need electric power until he found one. After he installed it and made sure she knew how to use it, he guaranteed the police would come if she needed them.

Before he left, Laguerre made sure she had a flashlight, candles, matches and a plan of what to do if the power went out again.

About 12:50 a.m. Monday, he said goodnight.

“She was super happy, so she made my night that night,” he said.

Calls like that are the best part of the job for police officers, Laguerre said.

“We are met with so much negativity out there doing our jobs,” he said, getting a little emotional. “So when you finally find that call … It’s just worth it all.”

Last July, Laguerre and a fellow officer helped a neighbor save Lee Heiger, who was drowning in a swimming pool after suffering a heart attack.

“Those guys do so much more than just police duties in helping out in situations out of the norm,” Heiger said Tuesday. “The public needs to be aware those guys do so much of that and never get recognized for it.”

Heiger said he didn’t learn about the officers’ intervention until weeks after the incident. When he recovered, he went to the police station to thank them.

Being an Oklahoma City police officer is a great honor, said Laguerre, who thanks his late mother for the opportunity.

In his native Haiti, he wanted to serve in the military and be a police officer, but was not allowed to do either.

His mom helped her children come to the United States and earn citizenship.

“She sat us all down and she talked to us about the country and what we can accomplish,” Laguerre said. “She said you can do whatever you want. You can be whatever you want here.”

It just takes effort and living right, she told them.

Laguerre joined the U.S. Army in 2001, served in Iraq and joined the Oklahoma City police force in 2008.

His mother didn’t live to see any of that, but Laguerre said, “I carry on what she left me.”


Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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