A man in severe distress and experiencing an emotional crisis was helped off the train bridge last weekend thanks to local police officers, who offered support and a kind ear until he agreed to leave the bridge and seek medical attention.
Officers were called to the area just before Noon on Sunday for a report of a man on the bridge. When patrol officers arrived, they could see the man was distraught. The man refused to speak with police for some time, but eventually began nodding in response to questions and accepted a coffee. After approximately 45 minutes, Sgt. Kathy Edwardsen, a trained crisis negotiator, was brought in to help.
Sgt. Edwardsen has more than 20 years of experience as a police officer and has been trained as a negotiator since 2004. She said very little was known about the man when she arrived, and it was difficult to even get his name at first.
“You could tell he was hurting. He was in pain,” Sgt. Edwardsen said.
As members with Parkland Ambulance and the Prince Albert Fire Department waited nearby with patrol officers, Sgt. Edwardsen continued talking with the man.
“I told him that we wanted to help and that we were going to stay with him for as long as it took to get him to safety,” she said. “I said there is no problem too big it can’t be solved, and that we would try to help him get through the pain.”
The man eventually accepted help off the bridge, where he was connected with an officer from the PAPS Police and Crisis Team (PACT), who took him for something to eat before transporting him to hospital for assessment. Police stayed with the man until he could be seen by a doctor to ensure he was safe.
Working as a negotiator is all about listening, Sgt. Edwardsen said, and the rapport that patrol officers had built with the man helped her in continuing the conversation and reassuring him that help was available. Good teamwork and help from our safety partners helped ensure the man felt supported enough to seek medical attention.
“It wasn’t me that brought him off that bridge, it was the team,” Sgt. Edwardsen said.