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APD officer applauded for her effort to save woman, dog from rollover accident

Officer Rosie Perez was off-duty when she stumbled upon the accident in Central Austin, staying by the woman's side until help arrived.

AUSTIN, Texas — A woman and her dog are safe after a rollover crash in early October, thanks to the quick actions of an off-duty Austin police officer who was at the right place at the right time.

On Oct. 9, Officer Rosie Perez was working off-duty as an officer for Capitol Metro. As she approached the light at 32nd Street and the Interstate 35 Frontage Road, right outside of St. David's Medical Center, she saw the accident. 

Two cars had collided, and she immediately noticed one had rolled over, with a woman and her dog stuck inside. 

"It looked like a pretty high-impact collision," she explained to KVUE.

Perez called for assistance, and while she knew she could not free the woman alone, she could still help. She laid down on the asphalt next to the car and kept the woman calm until help arrived.

"That is when she said, 'This is scary,'" Perez said.

In her 17 years in the force, Perez explained that providing comfort in intense situations when people are scared is incredibly important.

"Sometimes one of the most, you know, rewarding parts of the job is to just go, 'Hey, I got you,'" Perez said. 

According to Perez, both drivers were up and walking after the incident. She stayed behind to ensure they were seen by EMS before she continued on with her off-duty responsibilities.

The Austin Police Department applauded Perez's efforts on social media, stating, "Our officers often meet you during some of the most stressful moments of your life. APD Sr. Officer Rosie Perez is pictured here, assisting a woman who was trapped in her vehicle with her dog, after a rollover crash. Ofc. Perez got down on the ground and did her best to keep the woman calm until Austin Fire Department removed her and the dog from the wreckage." 

Our officers often meet you during some of the most stressful moments of your life. APD Sr. Officer Rosie Perez is...

Posted by Austin Police Department on Thursday, October 14, 2021

That post garnered a lot of attention from the community. Perez said she did not expect to get this kind of attention, because she was just doing her job. 

However, if the community can take anything away from this experience, she hopes people see that police officers are giving all they have to support the community and will show up when they are needed.

"The recognition is important because, you know, we are short [staffed] and we are doing the best we can. We have what we have and we are going to continue giving to the citizens of Austin the best that we can," she said. 

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