It doesn’t matter how long a police officer has been on the force, when a critical situation arises they have to be ready to get the job done. Officers Brandi Madrid and Candace Bisagna gave their heart and soul to a complete stranger in the hopes he would give life a second chance. A three-year veteran, Madrid was the first officer on the scene in Albuquerque, New Mexico. She had never experienced such a delicate situation thus far in her career. Nonetheless, she was able to use her Crisis Intervention training in this serious circumstance. As difficult as her task at hand was, it was complete strangers lack of concern and compassion in this instance that made the situation even more critical. What motorists may have seen as a light hearted joke or a way to entertain themselves while being stuck in traffic, it was a life and death situation for someone else. It’s never acceptable for humans to lose their ability to show compassion.He was sitting on the Wyoming overpass ready to end his life.
She spoke to the distress man trying to get him to her so he could get the help he so desperately needs.
“I tried to stay as calm as I could, but to see someone hanging off a bridge, your stomach does drop, you feel that gut feeling,” says officer Madrid.
The officers were frustrated at motorists who seemed to find the situation entertaining. While the officer was trying to build rapport, drivers were taunting the man.
“It was awful,” explains officer Madrid. “I’d start to build that rapport with him, speak with him and then all of a sudden a semi truck or a car would speed by and you can hear them repeating over and over again ‘just jump, just jump, just do it.”
She wanted to know what was upsetting him to the point of climbing the overpass. She was gaining his trust.
Bisagna had spent 45 minutes speaking to the same man almost two months earlier, talking him out of jumping again.
“The biggest thing is actually listening. He has a lot to say and a lot to express, so the main thing is taking it all in and listening to what he has to say,” says officer Madrid.
Worried that he may try this again, officer Bisagna and Madrid were assured by the Crisis Intervention Team that they would take care of the man and get him the help he needs.
Officer Bisagna wants motorists to remember this man’s life is important. “Be compassionate and show a little bit of empathy with his situation. I mean he’s someone’s son, someone’s brother.”