Two officers with the Marinette Police Department in Wisconsin were recently honored by the city after preventing a suicide attempt on January 6.
Police Chief Jon LaCombe presented Officers Justin Fischer and Max Neumann with the first lifesaving award he has given in two years as chief for their role in saving a 26-year-old man who had cut his wrists.
“Part of our job is to protect and serve, and sometimes, we need to protect people from themselves, which you did that night,” LaCombe said while handing out the plaques at the Marinette Common Council meeting on March 7.
The officers also received a standing ovation from the 30 to 40 people in attendance.
On January 6, the officers responded to a call from a man’s family stating that he had slashed his wrists.
When officers arrived, the young man was losing a lot of blood.
Officers quickly secured the knife and applied a makeshift tourniquet that was provided by family members to stop the bleeding.
Officers then moved the family into another room to calm them down, while assisting paramedics with applying a new tourniquet.
Finally, the bleeding stopped, and the man’s life was saved.
“You want to be as focused as you can to help them,” Officer Fischer said. “Honestly, I was just doing my job.”
Officer Jeff Cate, a patrol lieutenant with the department, praised the officer’s actions during the chaotic situation.
“It’s easy when somebody breaks a law because you know exactly what the process is for that,” Cate said. “With mental health, there’s so many moving parts, and it could be so many different things.”
Cate said the job of a police officer is multifaceted.
“That’s another thing that those guys do — road cops in general — but those guys specifically do really well on a daily basis: They wear so many different hats,” Cate said.
“They both did a great job of really managing what they had at the time. They were able to see every part of it for what it was.”
LaCombe credited the department’s mental health training for assisting the officers.
“It’s no secret that mental health is a huge issue in society right now, not just in Marinette — it’s nationwide,” the chief said. “Law enforcement really has to adapt to different styles of approaching this.”
LaCombe said officers work with mental health services like the Marinette County Health and Human Services ADAPT Behavioral Health Clinic to offer help to those in the county struggling with mental health issues.
Marinette’s Mayor Steve Genisot said that the awards are a special honor.
“I think it’s good for us to recognize folks who work for the city that did things above and beyond the call of duty,” Genisot said.
LaCombe did not hesitate, requesting that the city honor the two officers.
“Once it was done, the next Monday morning, I went and talked to the mayor, and he instantly agreed with me that these officers need to be recognized for their actions,” LaCombe said.
“The city expects a lot from us, and they have a high demand for us, and you guys definitely met that demand that night. You represented the community. You represented the police department, and you saved someone’s life,” he continued.