A life-saving event occurred this year in March when a heroic police officer convinced a young man to climb back over the rail of a highway overpass to safety. The officer used his emotional instincts to connect with the young man as a first responder, and sealing the deal by promising him a hug.
Officer Aaron Little of the Chandler Police Department comforted the 26-year-old man as Little arrived on the scene. The young man was threatening his own life by climbing over the safety rail of a highway overpass in Phoenix, Arizona. He had intended to jump into the traffic below, before the officer convinced him to climb to safety. The officer stayed calm and spoke in a soothing tone as to not startle the young man clinging to the railing.
“I’ll hug you, man. I don’t care. I just want to talk to you. I swear,” Little said to the young man.
The man was in tears as he was guided back to the parking lot and was greeted with a hug from Officer Little. A video of the emotional event was released on Wednesday by the police department and depicts the genuine emotion that was felt by all persons at the scene.
An expert with Empact Suicide Prevention Center said that the officer’s calm behavior and compassion were key in not escalating the situation.
“Being sympathetic, non-judgmental, calm, so the fact that the officer didn’t seem shocked by what the individual was doing, and maintained his distance from him,” said Erica Chestnut-Ramirez, Director of Crisis at Empact Suicide Prevention Center.