Police Officer’s Training and Empathy Help Distressed Woman

L to R: PO Hernandez, PO Buckley, Lt. Gagliardi, PO Sommer.

On Friday June 30, police officers from the 19 Precinct responded to Gracie Square Hospital to assist a distressed person in the waiting room. They observed a 37-year-old woman holding two large knives pressed to her throat.

One of the responding police officers, Rudolph Sommer, reflected on how his training in the Department’s Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training helped him and his other officers calm the situation:

“I became a police officer to help people and I’ve learned that to help people, sometimes you have to listen and show you care,” said Police Officer Rudolph Sommer.

“Everyone’s life has a story and sometimes people need to have their story heard.”

By maintaining their emotional and situational control, the officers immediately attempted to establish a dialogue with her. The officers slowed the situation down by utilizing crisis communication skills including active listening in order to de-escalate the tense situation. Their patience and training paid off when the lady became more calm and dropped the knives to the floor. The woman was then removed to New York Cornell Hospital for evaluation.

NYPD officers, including Police Officer Sommer, are trained in CIT to utilize the Law Enforcement Stairway (LENS) Model- a method that de-escalates crisis incidents by maintaining emotional control, team tactics, active listening, and influencing skills to gain voluntary compliance from the person.

Read more on how the NYPD is emphasizing crisis communication skills, emotional control, and team tactics to resolve crisis incidents with their Crisis Intervention Team (CIT) training [HERE]. 


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: www.NYPDnews.com/TalkToMe