Newark police officers and members of the community worked together to prevent a man from committing suicide.
Newark’s police department is crediting de-escalation training for saving the man’s life.
Officer Darrell Fields and Abdul Aziz Yasin responded to a 911 call and arrived at Route 78 overpass at West Runyon Street where they encountered a man on the bridge. The incident was caught on video.
The distraught man was standing on the ledge over the railing preparing to jump when officers approached. According to Fields, it was the same man they encountered in a prior non-violent domestic incident. The man was upset over a child custody issue.
Darrell Fields immediately de-escalated the situation by talking to the man rationally, calmly and compassionately.
“I’m not gonna act like I know what’s going on in your life. I don’t. We all got everyday struggles man. What you’re thinking about right now, your son is gonna have to deal with that every day of his life, every day without you. You have to understand that,” Fields said.
“I tried to be there, bro,” the man said.
“I know, but you still got time to be there,” Fields replied.
Public Safety Director Brian O’Hara explained to CBS 2 that this was de-escalation training in action.
“To help slow a situation down, help a person kind of rationally think through things and basically resolve situations safely, that’s ultimately the goal,” he said.
Two witnesses and the man’s father also were there to encourage him not to jump, eventually bringing him to safety.
“It’s gonna be alright. You have people here who care about you. Remember that,” one person told him.
The man was taken to the hospital for further evaluation and will be in contact with mental health services.