Once the spotlight hits him, Sgt. Philip Paz always is ready for action.
A 22-year veteran of the Oklahoma City Police Department, Paz said he was born to serve and protect.
At 18 he joined the military as a National Guard active reserve member, and shortly after that he began his career as a police officer, patrolling southwest Oklahoma City.
“That's why we get into this job, we want to help people,” Paz said. “If I can make a difference and maybe save someone's life, then that's awesome. It's all in another day's work for us.”
Tuesday, Paz was patrolling near the 3000 block of SW 54 when a medical call came over his radio about a woman having a seizure.
He was close, so he went to the house. From outside the front door, he heard the woman's cries.
Paz gave the white, wooden door two hard kicks, and the door gave way. He found Misty Combs, 31, sitting in a chair with her 9-month-old son precariously teetering in her lap.
Paz scooped up the boy and checked on Combs. Paramedics came in behind him and treated the mother, while Paz entertained Dylan until Combs' husband made it home.
“When you hear someone on the other side of the door, you just don't know what can happen next,” he said. “You just have to be ready for whatever it could be.”
It wasn't the first time Paz was ready when needed in an emergency. Last year, he was honored for saving a woman by performing CPR and dislodging the bit of food she was choking on.
Paz said officers go through lifesaving situations every day, and he feels blessed every time he's able to help someone.
“I'm no different from most police officers,” he said. “All I've ever wanted to do is help people. When you get a chance to do that, it's the best feeling in the world.”
But Paz does stand apart from his fellow officers once he's off the clock.
He began fulfilling a lifelong dream of acting last year and already has had some success, starring in a slew of local films and commercials and landing a small role in the upcoming Danny Trejo movie, “Bullet.”
“I've just always wanted to entertain,” Paz said. “When my wife and I go out to dinner, she is always telling me to quit drawing attention to us.”
Paz will make his Hollywood debut as a street thug when “Bullet” premieres later this year. His police experience has allowed him to immerse himself in the bad guy character more easily, he said.
“You have to put yourself in many different roles as a police officer,” he said. “Whatever the situation is, you have to mold your actions so you can figure out a solution.”
Whether it's playing a diplomat to solve a domestic dispute, a tough guy dealing with a drug dealer or a hero kicking in the front door at the sound of trouble, Paz said he relishes being put in different situations.
The paramedics took Combs to OU Medical Center, where doctors determined her seizure stemmed from high blood sugar. While recovering in the hospital, she got a call from Paz to see how she was doing.
“If it wasn't enough that he helped save my life, he calls me later to check on me,” she said. “I've never had someone I didn't know call to ask if I was OK. I'm just so grateful.”
Later in the week Paz stopped by Combs' house to visit her and Dylan.
Before leaving, Dylan reached out to Paz to be picked up.
“Hey big guy, remember me?” Paz asked the baby. “If you ever need me again, I'll be here. Just call 911.”