On June 21, police in Plymouth, Massachusetts, immediately jumped into action to save a U.S. Marine Corps veteran who was attempting to commit suicide.
Officer Roth was the first to arrive on the scene, followed by Officers Torrance and Whelan and Sergeant Reddington, after dispatch received a call from a panicked woman who said that her boyfriend was saying his final goodbyes to her and planning to take his own life.
When the officers located the man in West Plymouth, he was in his car with a chain tied around his neck that was wrapped around a tree behind the car. The man’s intention of choking himself to death was plain to the officers as they saw the vehicle slowly inching forward.
Roth immediately established a dialogue with the man. Soon after, Torrance and Reddington arrived and began to de-escalate the situation further through conversation. During that dialogue, police learned that the man was a veteran suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
While the officers, who were veterans themselves, talked to the former Marine about their own time in the service, Whelan maneuvered his car in front of the man’s vehicle to prevent him from continuing forward.
Reddington is a USMC veteran, while Torrance served in the U.S. Navy.
Eventually, officers persuaded the man to park his car and hand over his keys and a razor he was holding. They then freed the man from the chain wrapped around his neck.
Later, a clinician with the Plymouth Police Department discussed treatment options with the distressed veteran.
In a Facebook post about the incident, Plymouth police thanked the officers for their excellent work and took the opportunity to educate the public about the mental health struggles many veterans face.
“Needless to say, this incident was extremely emotional for all involved. Veteran’s PTSD could not be more real. We have seen it hundreds of times with our Brave Veterans in Plymouth over the past couple of decades. Hug your Veteran. Love your Veteran. Take care of your Veterans,” the department wrote.
The department concluded by expressing their commitment to caring for their officers’ mental health, noting that PTSD is incredibly common among police officers.
“Studies show that the average police officer goes on 200 critical/horrific incidents throughout the course of their careers,” the department wrote, adding that most American citizens witness fewer than two, according to a study.