Randalls Island- Yesterday, police rescued a man who had climbed up on the Robert F. Kennedy-Triborough Bridge and was reportedly threatening to jump, according to officials.
Police received a call for a man on the bridge at about 2:30 PM; this prompted officers from the NYPD’s Emergency Service Unit—a group that handles special rescues, as well as emotionally distressed individuals—to respond to the scene.
Upon arrival, ESU personnel put on climbing harnesses and other safety equipment, before making their way up the bridge, stopping just below the man to give him space while they talked with him.
While rescuers made their way up to the man, an inflatable airbag was placed on the roadway of the bridge—this was done to protect the man if he jumped or fell inward.
Less than an hour after it began, the incident comes to a dramatic end— after pacing back and forth on a ledge of the bridge, the man lies down and moments later, an ESU member rushes across a short catwalk and quickly grabs him, pulling the man to safety; this entire sequence was captured on video taken from an NYPD police helicopter.
After he was restrained by ESU members, the distressed man was placed in a special stretcher that allowed ESU personnel to lower him to the roadway using a system of ropes; the man was later transported by EMS to a nearby hospital to be evaluated.
Last year, NYPD patrol officers began being trained in the “Talk to Me” protocol, already used by ESU and NYPD’s Hostage Negotiation Teams (HNT) to “build rapport, demonstrate empathy and encourage active listening,” when interacting with someone in a crisis situation, according to the NYPD.
ESU and HNT members respond to thousands of incidents each year involving people in crisis situations— everything from people threatening to jump, to individuals barricaded inside their residence, according to the NYPD.
You can learn more about the techniques used by the police department, mental illness, and ways to prevent suicide by following the NYPD run twitter account @TalkToMe.