When I set out to Queens Center Mall for Christmas shopping last December, I hoped — at most — to save a few dollars on gifts for the family. I did not know that I would be in the right place at the right time to save a suicidal man’s life. By offering a hug, I helped him down from the third-story balcony where he planned to end his life, earning a personal thank you from Mayor de Blasio and coverage all over local news.
Since the incident, people have asked how I knew exactly what to do in that stressful moment. Truthfully, the hug is what my heart called me to do. But to find fellowship with the stranger in distress, I had to use the skills I recently learned in an NYPD crisis intervention training made available to officers citywide.
My wife and I were standing on the escalator that afternoon when we felt shoving from a man rushing up muttering, “I’m going to do it. I’m going to jump” as he passed. By the time I caught up with him he had one leg over the ledge. I introduced myself: “Hi, sir, this is Officer Campoverde.” That wasn’t enough to break through his haze.
This training means thousands of officers with life-saving skills are in neighborhoods across the city to keep communities safe while connecting people with mental health issues with the resources they need.
Read more from Police Campoverde in the Daily News [HERE].