NYPD Housing officers saved a distraught man who was threatening to jump from a Manhattan overpass in late December. Sergeant Wierzchowska and Police Officer Altaf were attending roll call in late December when a fellow officer approached them about a 911 call regarding a distraught man that he saw on his Department smartphone. Sergeant Wierzchowska and Officer Altaf quickly responded to the scene on East 169th Street and Park Avenue in Manhattan where they saw a man on the outside of an overpass bridge threatening to take his own life. Officer Altaf slowly approached the shaking man, developed a dialogue and calmly reassured him that he was not in any trouble. Sergeant Wierzchowska recalled the incident:
“The man repeatedly asked, ‘Can I trust you? Can I trust you?’ and Officer Altaf unwaveringly responded, ‘You can trust me.’”
Officer Altaf successfully gained the man’s trust and convinced him that no matter what was going on, jumping onto the train tracks was not the answer. Unfortunately, the man was unable to confidently climb to safety. With her recent Crisis Intervention Training in mind, Sergeant Wierzchowska jumped into action and began to speak to the man. Risking her own safety, she climbed to the outside of the overpass and with her left hand she was able to reach the man while fellow officers securely held her right hand. Together they pulled on Sergeant Wierzchowska to bring the man back to safety. An emotional scene followed as the family members embraced each other and thanked the officers for saving the man’s life.