To Serve and Protect: Police Describe Scaling 287-Foot Bridge to Save Suicidal Man
Two police officers in Long Island, New York, have been hailed as heroes after reaching new heights to save a man they say threatened to jump off a 287-foot bridge.
On 8:30 Sunday morning, Officers Billy Judge and Glen Baillargeon of the Suffolk County Police Department received a call about a suicidal man standing on top of the Fire Island Inlet Bridge on the Robert Moses Causeway, according to authorities.
When the cops arrived, they put on their climbing gear and made their way to the top of the bridge to speak with the man, who was reportedly ready to jump.
At a press conference Monday, Officer Judge described how he established communication and trust with the subject.
“I had said to him at one point, 'we really care about you. We want to get you out of this.’ He said, ‘you don’t care about me.’ I said, ‘we are the only two people who are up here with you right now, that’s gotta tell you something,'" Officer Judge recalled.
It took more than two hours to talk the man off the bridge and get him to safety.
“At one point he looked up to me and said, ‘Billy, thank you.’ I said, ‘my friend, thank you. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to get you out of here,'" Judge said.
When the men reached the ground, they gave each other a hug and expressed their gratitude for what each of them accomplished.
They officers credited their extensive training with the department in how they were able to save the man from jumping off the bridge.
During the press conference, Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said: “Every single day that our officers put on that uniform they risk their lives to protect and to serve the residents of Suffolk County.
Whether it is a car stop, executing a search warrant, a search and seizure of fire arms, regular patrol work or a rescue from a bridge, our officers everyday assume that risk. They do it knowingly and they do it proudly.”