Arizona police officer tells distressed jumper, ‘I’ll hug you, man’
CHANDLER, Ariz. – An Arizona police officer recently showed how compassion can help save a life.
The Chandler Police Department released footage Wednesday of a March incident in which a 26-year-old man climbed the railing on a pedestrian bridge over Highway 101 southwest of Phoenix.
The man had scaled the protective railing with the intent to jump, reported Fox10.
In dramatic body camera footage, however, Officer Aaron Little is seen talking with the man, asking him to climb back over the railing.
“I’ll hug you, man. I don’t care. I just want to talk to you. I swear,” Little can be heard saying.
The officer was able to eventually convince the man to climb back onto the bridge to get that embrace.
“Come give me that hug,” Little said. “I’m not going to do anything to you.”
The man can then be heard crying as the camera rolls during the embrace.
An expert with Empact Suicide Prevention Center told FOX10 the officer’s calm, casual demeanor and compassion were key in not escalating the situation.
“Being sympathetic, non-judgmental, calm, so the fact that the officer didn’t seem shocked by what the individual was doing, and maintained his distance from him,” Erica Chestnut-Ramirez, Director of Crisis at Empact Suicide Prevention Center, told FOX10 of the numerous things the officer did well.