DALLAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Despite being Injured and outnumbered, Dallas Police officer Gretchen Rocha still managed to arrest a burglary suspect overnight, and on Friday afternoon her superiors stressed that the officer has a history of bravery in bad situations.
“It’s a mindset,” says Major Paul Junger. “She performed her job well at all costs.”
It was just after midnight when police say the off-duty, but uniformed officer spotted a pair of thieves breaking into parked cars at a downtown apartment complex parking garage.
Officer Rocha followed the suspects to a waiting parked car and approached the driver.
According to police, the driver threw the car in reverse and backed over the officer’s foot before crashing into several parked cars in an effort to get away.
Deontae Hall, 27, was arrested and is now facing a laundry list of charges. His two alleged accomplices ran away on foot and police are still searching for them. Apartment residents are calling the officer a hero.
“She’s outstanding,” says apartment resident Christopher Wyatt, “her heroism is amazing. We need more cops like that.”
Wyatt says he feels safe in the area, but realizes it is still an urban area.
“You definitely have to watch your back, just like anywhere else in America. But, once the sun falls, it’s different on these streets.”
According to Major Junger, the injured officer refused an ambulance transport, allowing a fellow officer to drive her to the hospital, but then they stopped to respond to a radio call on the way.
“When I asked around, everyone said ‘that’s just who she is…’ said Junger.
Officer Rocha has earned a reputation as a tough, resilient officer who honed those skills in the worst way imaginable. She was just weeks out of the police academy when she was injured in the July 7, 2016 downtown ambush that killed five fellow law enforcement officers.
According to police, in spite of her injuries, she still managed to render aid to another injured officer and drove them both to the hospital.
“Her mindset,” stressed Major Junger. “The trauma that police officers see daily, if you don’t have a healthy way to deal with that trauma, we experience problems. And her mindset is one of resilience.”
She’s taking an injured foot in stride, thankful that it is just bruised and no bones broken.
“The adrenaline is starting to wear off, so she’s starting to feel the pain in her foot, but she’s in great spirits and she kept saying, she says ‘make sure that everybody knows that this isn’t anything compared to child birth’,” added Junger with a laugh.
Perspective and a sense of humor.