Police officers from the Miami-Dade and Miami police departments recently collaborated to rescue a U.S. Navy veteran who had threatened to harm himself.
The incident took place on February 18 near the southbound Interstate 95 and the Rickenbacker Causeway Key Biscayne exit ramp.
According to police, officers responded to a veteran exhibiting a mental health crisis who was standing over a 40-foot-high ledge of a Metrorail and wielding a knife.
After four hours of negotiating and using de-escalation strategies, first responders finally convinced the man to accept help.
During the negotiation, Officer Mario Martinez used “positive-active” negotiation techniques to engage with the veteran, while Officer Sergio Vieitez stood ready to safely restrain the man.
Meanwhile, Sergeant Manuel Quesada assured the man that they were there to help him and promised to get him the assistance he needed.
“He made it seem like several times he was going to drop. At one point, he had the knife that he had on his hand. He had it against his throat,” Vieitez said in a video released by police.
Martinez warned Vieitez to be ready to take action if an opportunity arose. “He is going to give us a chance and we have got to take it,” Martinez told Vieitez.
Quesada’s promise to the man proved pivotal in the negotiation.
“Those guys are not here to hurt you; I am not here to hurt you,” the officer said.
Eventually, the man agreed to let the officers help him and walked away from the ledge.
“We actually saw him a few days later,” Quesada said. “He thanked us ad nauseam, and I think one of my officers actually bought him lunch.”
Vieitez also met the man later and felt good that he was able to help him. However, Martinez received another call about the man in distress, and he was there to help him again.
“I am going to be here as many times as you need me,” Martinez promised the man.
The veteran was hospitalized for mental health treatment after the incident. The officers’ dedication to saving the man’s life is a testament to their commitment to serving their community.