CAMPBELL, Calif. (KTVU) - The story of Ian White and Rosemary Smith begins 10 years ago. White had been working as a Campbell Police officer for about 5 years back in 2009. One night he got a call about a mobile home. "It was just a parking complaint for a mobile home parked on the street," says White.
When he got there, Rosemary smith answered the door.
"My impression of her was she was a drug user and that was the situation at the time," says White, He says it was clear that she was under the influence.
Smith doesn't deny it saying "We were using of course I was doing everything drinking, drugs all of it."
But it isn't Smith, that Ian White remembers most. It was her two-year-old daughter Lilly, "I remember Lilly, I remember finding her daughter in the mobile home and I want to say at the time my daughter was just a bit younger than her."
It ended up being a long call. Smith says he spent a long time talking to her, she admits "I was very mad at him, I told him, I can't tell you what I said to him it wasn't nice." But after a while she says, "I finally gave in and told him yes I'm high."
When the night ended her daughter had been taken by child protective services and she was handcuffs.
It was mother's day weekend 2009. She says at that point she'd been abusing drugs and alcohol for 35 years.
"That weekend I lost everything I lost every single thing,' says Smith. She calls that weekend rock bottom. She had spent decades using and losing. Years before she gave up custody of her son Matthew and now she had lost custody of another child, "When I got to the police station that was all that I was thinking about, what am I doing this is ridiculous this has got to stop."
Five days after her arrest she got clean, entered a family wellness program, and started turning her life around. She took parenting classes and it took six months but she got her daughter back.
Over the next several years with help from a judge and mentors she excelled, enrolled at San Jose City College and earned multiple degrees.
"I think I just switched addictions" she says and she is now working full time now as a supervisor for a security company.
Gary Ortega, the Vice President of Security for Atlas Security says "She's a walking testament not just here for us at work but to her child and her friends."
She has also reconnected with her adult son, Matthew, and has become the parent she always wanted to be for Lilly who has brief memories of what home used to be.
"It was very very filthy," says Lilly, who is now 12, of the mobile home. "I don't' remember how it looks I remember that it was very bad."
But she is creating so many more memories now of dance, and vacations and family
And she credits Sgt. White and that night, "I wouldn't know where I'd be. The life I have now is amazing .. and Sergeant White completed that."
It's why Smith reached out to Sergeant White, last year just as she was getting ready to graduate from UC Santa Cruz.
"I wanted to call him and show him," she says, "I always say look at what you've done and he says no look at what you've done. He saved my life literally.'
The bond that has grown since then is remarkable.
Sgt. White went to Smith's graduation and she's come to the department to tell her story.
Sgt. White says he was just doing his job but also says he and the other officers "need those success stories. We need more now than ever to see that something works."
As for Smith, she says she hopes her story helps officers and helps others who are struggling with addiction. She says Sgt. White was the help she needed, "He helped Lilly and he helped me, he saved my life he saved her life. That one moment that happened brought all of that together."
Smith is hoping to one day become a parole officer.