A FILIPINO American who was a veteran 911 dispatcher in Los Angeles has died of complications related to COVID-19, becoming the LA Police Department’s fourth employee taken by the virus.
Police Service Representative III Raymond L. Guerrero, who worked in the communications division, died on Thursday, January 7 at the age of 51, the LAPD announced two days after his death.
“It is with an extremely heavy heart that we mourn the loss of PSR Raymond Guerrero, who passed away. Our deepest condolences go out to Mr. Guerrero’s entire family, colleagues, and friends in this most difficult time,” the announcement read.
Guerrero, the son of Vicente Mandanas Guerrero and Lourdes Lopez, migrated with his family from the Philippines to the United States at a young age.
He went on to attend Loyola High School and LA Community College before joining the police department.
He served the city of LA for 24 years and “dedicated his career to ensuring that every call for service made by the community members we serve was answered,” the LAPD continued.
Sharon Dormitorio, who worked with Guerrero at the LAPD, remembered him for his jovial mood and for “always [being] cool, calm and collected amidst the chaos.”
“Nothing rattled him — not a pursuit, help call, shooting, foot chase; [he] always [had] that even tone of voice,” Dormitorio wrote in a Facebook post, adding that Guerrero went out of his way to mentor new operators, including fellow Fil-Ams like herself.
“He was a Tagalog speaker and used his multilingual skills to conduct 911 interviews in Tagalog, especially when our titas and titos are losing it on the other end of the line,” she added.
Guerrero is survived by his wife, Debra Guerrero, who is also a Police Service Representative III, and two young daughters, Mahal and Malaya.
“All he wanted was to see his daughters grow up and then retire to [the Philippines]. Ray represented the Filipinos really well in the police world. The unsung hero, always heard [and] never seen, the first responder that you never see,” Dormitorio said.
A GoFundMe page has been set up by Guerrero’s family to help with funeral costs.
Editor’s note: The Asian Journal is working to document those of Filipino descent who have lost their lives because of the coronavirus in the United States. If you know of someone or would like to offer a remembrance of someone who has died of COVID-19, please tell us about them by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject line “Remembering Lives Lost.”