Florida police officers prevented a 17-year-old girl from ending her life this Father’s Day by negotiating with her for an hour and holding her hand.
In dramatic body cam video, the girl can be seen clinging to an overpass fence above the Palm Coast Parkway. The girl was clearly distraught in the video, but officers did everything they could to make sure she didn’t jump.
In the video, officers can be seen holding onto her through the links in the fence, and trying to talk with her and solve her problems.
It all started for the Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies when their office got a call from the girl’s father saying his daughter was threatening to hurt herself before running away down the street.
Responding deputies rushed to the overpass above the Palm Coast Parkway and the I-95 after receiving a tip that she was going there.
When deputies arrived, they saw the teen clinging to the outside of the overpass bridge and “slowly inching her way closer towards the highway.”
According to Deputy Laura Jenkins, who was part of the female negotiation team (as the teen did not care for males), the teen let go of the railing but Jenkins quickly reached through the fence and grabbed her hand. She then handcuffed her to the rail.
Jenkins and another law enforcement officer can be seen on video holding the teen’s hand and calmly talking to her.
After an hour of negotiations in which Jenkins at one point talked to the girl about bringing her to see her nephew, Deputy Crista Rainey and a firefighter brought the girl to safety using a fire engine ladder.
Flagler County Sheriff Rick Staly praised the combined efforts of the agencies involved.
Staly wrote in a statement, “The quick response and combined efforts of FCSO deputies, Crisis Negotiations, Communications Center, Fire Rescue, and the deputies holding the juvenile’s hand saved a life today. Their training in de-escalation techniques and being able to talk to someone who’s threatening to take their life is remarkable.”
He continued, “I commend all the men and women who stepped up for this child’s life today. Someone’s daughter was saved on Father’s Day, and I hope she receives the help she needs.”
The girl was transported to Halifax Medical Center for further mental health evaluation.