New NYPD Police Officer Uses Crisis Communication Skills To Help Distressed Man


Police Officer Rodriguez (center) with 109 Precinct Community Council President, Vana Patridge; 109 Precinct Commanding Officer, Deputy Inspector Judith Harrison; and NYS State Senator, Tony Avella. Officer Rodriguez was honored for her use of crisis communication skills during a recent Community Council meeting.

Last month an NYPD police officer assisted an emotionally distressed person (EDP) who went missing after taking numerous pills in Queens. Police Officer Jovonna Rodriquez and Sergeant Yaudy Fernandez responded to an EDP call in the Flushing section of Queens and upon arriving at the residence, they were met by a frantic woman. She told the officers that her 30-year-old son had been in an argument with her and his siblings, he had taken numerous prescription pills, and then fled the location.

The officers along with other responding units did a quick canvass of the area and Officer Rodriguez called the mother back to see if she had heard from him yet. The mother stated she was on the phone with him now. Officer Rodriguez, who graduated the academy only six months ago, encouraged the mother to remain on the phone with him while they drove back to the location.

CIT LOGOAfter the officers arrived at the scene, the mother told them that he hung up on her. Officer Rodriguez tried calling the man multiple times but he kept hanging up on her. Her persistence paid off and she was finally able to engage him in conversation.

The man stated he was angry for numerous reasons, that he was afraid and hated the police, and that he did not want to come home yet. He also stated he had nowhere to stay. Officer Rodriguez listened to him and was able to demonstrate empathy and build rapport with the man. The conversation continued, eventually in person, after he returned to the location.

After Emergency Medical Service personnel arrived, the man once again became alarmed and apprehensive about going in the ambulance. Officer Rodriguez once again was able to listen to him and alleviate the man’s concerns. After another extended conversation, the male stated he wanted to get help.  Officer Rodriguez helped diminish the man’s fears and he agreed to voluntarily get in the ambulance and he was transported to the hospital.

Officer Rodriguez credits her Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training with helping her remain calm and successfully resolve the situation. CIT training is being given to patrol officers to help them engage people in crisis incidents where the officers use communication skills with tactics to achieve peaceful conclusions.

“It’s who I am- I’m a human and so is he. I genuinely cared and wanted to help him,” Officer Rodriguez said.

“The CIT training taught me how to slow the situation down and take things step-by-step. I wanted to make sure he knew he wasn’t alone- I was there to listen and help him.”


If you are having thoughts of suicide, help is available. You have options and you are not alone. You can call the Life Line at 1-800-273-8255 or 911 for an emergency. You can also text “Talk” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741. 

If you know someone who might be in a crisis, you do not have to be an expert to help them. Get tips here: