LOS ANGELES (CBSLA.com) — In October, Orina Dallas’ mother, her only family, suddenly died – leaving her alone in their Highland Park apartment.
“I was shocked. I was not expect this to happen,” said the 44-year-old woman, who has developmental and intellectual disabilities.
After a neighbor called 911, Los Angeles police officers Stephanie Hodgden and Vanessa Prentice from the LAPD’s Rampart Division responded.
Prentice said she immediately was able to connect with Dallas because she also recently lost her mother. “I just recognized that she was going to have problems with accepting. The acceptance part of it, I think, is the most difficult thing,” she said.
Hodgden said she was able to pick up on Dallas’ condition because she has a nephew, who is also disabled.
“She needed further assistance as far as all her living arrangements. And that’s when we knew that we couldn’t just handle the call and leave her there with no resources,” Prentice remembered.
So the officers connected Dallas with social services. The next day, the officers took her shopping. The day her mom died, she was supposed to go buy new shoes and hair products. So the officers made good on that trip. Dallas was ecstatic.
“They’re very special. I love them,” Dallas declared.
“Mentally, she’s a child,” Prentice said. The officer and her partner visit Dallas every day during their shift.
Dallas quickly grew attached to her new friends.
“It just shows that everybody needs that love,” Hodgden said.
When the holidays arrived, the officers took Dallas to meet Saint Nick – a first for her.
“She was so happy to see Santa Claus,” Prentice remembered.
The officers also paid a cleaning crew to clean Dallas’ apartment a week before Christmas.
“When she got home, her apartment was clean. The tree was up. It was decorated, presents. And we surprised her with Christmas,” Prentice recalled.
The officers said they did it “for so many reasons. I care a lot about her,” Prentice said as tears welled up in her eyes. “She actually reminds me a lot of my kids. She’s just so genuine. She’s such a caring person. Not a bad bone in her body. She’s just a beautiful soul.”
“I’m bringing her joy and happiness I want her when she sees us. We’re there with her. We’re going to be by her side,” Hodgden declared.
These officers said Dallas has given them a gift too – the gift of friendship.
For new year’s eve, the officers plan to bring Dallas dinner to her home.