Friends remember retired Pontiac police officer who died after falling off his roof

Posted at 10:23 PM, Apr 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-04-25 14:55:32-04

Former colleagues are remembering a retired Pontiac police officer who died in a tragic accident at his home.

Darence Betts was killed Monday afternoon after falling 20 feet off his roof while cleaning out his gutters with a leaf-blower. 

Friends are telling 7 Action News that the 61-year-old Betts, who joined the Pontiac force back in 1988, had a larger than life personality and died doing something he loved - tinkering around his house.

"He’s the kind of guy that would go into a room and immediately the room would brighten up," says Deputy Brian McLaughlan.

"Everyone that knew him absolutely loved him," says Sergeant Robert Miller.

The three friends we spoke with are now all with the Oakland County Sheriff's Department, which took over policing duties in Pontiac in 2010.

That's when Betts, a former diver for Eastern Michigan University, retired as a detective after a 20 year career.

His friends say he served his community well in life and his death is a loss for everyone he knew and protected.

"He could calm a tense situation just by the force of his personality," says McLaughlan. "I think it made the community respect their officers much more, when they were presented with an officer like that. I think he served the citizens of Pontiac well. I know he was very proud to wear that badge."