Auburn Hills Police Officer's small deed hardly goes unnoticed

Sometimes, police officers don't get the credit they deserve. Across the cities of Metro Detroit and the entire country, they protect and serve. But it's not all speeding tickets and catching the bad guys, that's what one Auburn Hills woman learned and is now spreading the word.

The anonymous woman wrote to the Auburn Hills Police Chief on January 11 and she told this story:

It was Thursday, January 8. As all of the Detroit area and the state was frozen, the Auburn Hills woman was trapped in her own home. She wrote that she had tried for five hours to get free but her door seemed to be frozen shut. It wouldn't be that strange, after all we were under a wind chill advisory and a snow storm would blow in that night, bringing about three inches of fresh snow to Michigan.

She tried and tried but had no luck. After five hours, she called 911. She wrote that she apologized because it was likely not considered an emergency but she had nowhere else to turn. Instead of turning her away, the dispatcher sent an officer out to check on the woman. 

Officer Jayson VanLandegham was tabbed with the call. He knocked on the door and the woman was able to open a window and explain the issue. She said that the storm door was latched but the officer could remove the screen to get to the latch. He did that then shouldered the door open.

Then he stuck around.

The officer tested the problem with the woman. He had her close it and it stuck again. He took a look and told her it was not ice but a problem with the door. He told her it needed to be raised. 

He still stuck around.

He verified her ID and asked about tools. She said all she had were pliers, a slot screwdriver and a hammer. He hammered at the sill so the door would close and open smoothly. Then Officer VanLandegham worked on the storm door he had taken the screen off of.

She said he refitted the top glass, replaced a missing screw, and tightened the others. She writes that not only was the door operational, it was more secure.

Only then, the officer left.

In her letter, she wrapped her story with this: "I can't say enough wonderful things about [the officer]. He was a tall, well built man, neat and looking every bit an officer in his uniform, winter jacket and knit cap. He was patient, polite and friendly. He was a true public servant and Good Samaritan. he could have opened the door and left, but he stayed to make sure that I would be ok after he left. He didn't see my color - black - or my age - 72. He saw a citizen in need and gave his very best. I will always be grateful to the [the officer] and the Auburn Hills PD."

Auburn Hills Police Chief Doreen Olko posted the story on Tuesday. She wrote that she appreciated the woman's time to share what happened. She also wrote this about the officer: "we are proud of Officer VanLandeghem and his willingness to take a few minutes to help out a person in need in an unexpected way."

Read more from the Auburn Hills Police Department and the entire letter here.
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