Collier County Sheriff’s Deputy Robert Pounds has been on the job for over a quarter century, but last week, the veteran officer experienced something he has never encountered before.
On duty near Naples, Florida at around 4 a.m., Pounds clocked a vehicle doing 63 miles-per-hour in a 45 mph zone. Upon approaching the car, Pounds quickly realized this was anything but a run-of-the-mill traffic stop. Wilfrid Jean-Louis was behind the wheel, his wife Fabienne next to him in the passenger seat, already in labor.
Dash-cam footage on the patrol car captured the interaction. “Officer, you have the right to stop me, I’m not gonna even lie,” 36 -year-old Jean-Louis tells Pounds. “We have a baby coming out. That’s the reason why I’m speeding.” Any suspicions the deputy had about the story vanished when Pounds saw the baby’s head beginning to crown.
Pounds calls for backup, then grabs latex gloves and supplies from his vehicle. Audio from the dash-cam capturing the officer assuring the soon-to-be father “I’m coming bud, hang on!”
Just moments later, Pounds, a father of three himself, delivered his first child while on duty. “(The baby) gripped my forefinger, which really made me feel good because it was a nice tight squeeze and I knew she was going to be OK,” Pounds recently shared with TODAY. “Even though I looked calm, I was probably a little more scared on the inside than I appeared,” he said. “But my training and my agency’s training really helped me out quite a bit.”
The couple made it safely to the hospital, naming their new baby girl Leila Robert Jean-Louis, a lifelong reminder of the sheriff’s deputy who helped to welcome her into the world. “It was only right,” Wilfrid Jean-Louis says. “It was only fair. He was there, and he did what I wasn’t able to do.”
As for the speeding ticket, Pounds noted on the report that no citations would be issued “Due to the nature of the circumstances.”
While law enforcement can sometimes receive a bad wrap, stories such as this remind us how lucky we are to have trained professionals in our communities, vowing to protect and serve each and every day.