NYPD Technology, Teamwork, and Training Help Officers Assist Suicidal Woman

L-R: PO McNab, Sgt. Hansen, PO Capursi, and PO Giuliano

On the afternoon of July 31st, Midtown South received a call from a distraught brother regarding his sister who had expressed suicidal thoughts. After a troublesome video call with his sister, the man believed she was contemplating ending her life while on the roof of a building close to Times Square. The concerned brother took screen shots of their video call and sent them to Sergeant Callahan. Sergeant Callahan analyzed the photos and identified the Staten Island ferry in the background. Once the correct location was established, he immediately contacted the 120 Precinct and requested Aviation conduct rooftop searches in that area.

Sergeant Chan, of the 120 Precinct, responded to Sergeant Callahan’s call and rapidly deployed multiple units to canvass the area with the information provided. Using his department cell phone, Sergeant Callahan sent the photos directly to several Staten Island sergeants. Upon receiving the photos, Sergeant Hansen conferred with Police Officers McNab and Giuliano. Together, they were able to identify a familiar building in the background and rush to the scene.

At the rooftop, Officers McNab and Giuliano found the woman in crisis sitting on the ledge with her feet dangling over the edge. Recognizing the immediate threat of physical harm to the subject, the officers requested backup from specialized units including the Hostage Negotiation Team and Emergency Service Unit perseonnel. With their recent Crisis Intervention Training (CIT) in mind, the officers engaged in tactical communication focused on slowing down the situation and gaining voluntary compliance. When Sergeant Hansen arrived on the scene, he carefully monitored their conversation and acted as support.

When the woman expressed fear of getting in trouble, the officers comforted her by throwing their handcuffs to the side and reassuring her that they were there to help. At this point, Sergeant Hansen interjected as a supervisor and promised her that her safety was their only concern. With this reassurance, Sergeant Hansen noticed the woman physically shift toward them and away from the ledge. During his recent Crisis Intervention Training (CIT), Sergeant Hansen learned how to read body language and de-escalate a person’s negative emotions in crisis situations.

“We focused on establishing a good rapport and engaging her in positive conversation.

We spoke about her neighborhood and the things she enjoys.

By focusing on positive things, we were able to get her to step down from the ledge,” said Sergeant Hansen.

The sergeant and officers helped her back from the ledge and then walked her down to the street where an ambulance was waiting. The woman was then transported by FDNY personnel to a nearby hospital.

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