The Oklahoma City Police Department suffered a tough and tragic loss this week.
Officials said Master Sgt. Tomas Daugherty, who served the community for nearly 20 years, died suddenly. Daugherty’s death was most likely medical-related, department officials said.
His passing left the question of who will continue a high school law enforcement cadet program he helped create?
Normally, Daugherty would be teaching the class of law enforcement cadets at Metro Technology Center, but on Tuesday, his three sons showed up to reassure them.
“He’s proud of you, and he loved this group of all his cadets,” said Emelio Daugherty told the class of cadets.
The sudden loss left Daugherty's office empty and students grieving their mentor.
“He was a people person,” said Emelio Daugherty, his oldest son. “Everyone got a smile and a handshake.”
The 19-year veteran served his community in many ways beyond wearing the uniform and patrolling the streets.
“He mentored so many young kids at PAL,” said Master Sgt. Adam Rosko, Oklahoma City Police Department. “They refer to him as Officer Tomas.”
After working in the city's Police Athletic League, Daugherty saw a need for minority officers in the department and built a relationship with Metro Tech.
“He found out there was nothing for them after they graduated,” said Rosko. “They had to wait a couple years before they could apply for the police department and there was no mentorship between there, and they would lose interest in law enforcement.”
The past and current cadets are Daugherty's legacy and possibly future police officers.
“What are they doing to mend relationships? I think this program is an example of it,” said Emelio Daugherty. “You got a lot of young people over there. A lot of minorities, young men and woman who want to be police officers and that’s not the popular thing to say right now.”
Tomas Daugherty's fellow officers and family plan to carry the torch he lit.
“Take care of business,” said Emelio Daugherty. “That was his motto. Take care of business, take care of the people around you.”
Tomas Daugherty's funeral will be held on Thursday in southwest Oklahoma City and Metro Tech plans to hold two remembrance ceremonies for students on Oct. 6.