Police Training

July 01, 2014

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Video of water rescue offers 6 reminders on suicidal subjects

Submitted by:
Doug Wyllie, PoliceOne Editor in Chief

Cops “routinely” perform heroic, life-saving actions to help citizens facing their darkest hours — people who’ve lost all hope and seek to kill themselves as a “solution” to their problems. 

Cops “routinely” also shun being called heroic for these acts. “I was just doing my job” is the typical refrain. 

But such incidents are anything but “routine” — each is unique, and each comes with its own set of hazards to the officers involved. 

Search PoliceOne for “police save suicidal man” and you’ll get dozens and dozens of examples of such heroics. A couple of months ago, a San Leandro (Calif.) officer saved a man from jumping off a bridge. A few years back, cops in Detroit saved a man who had tried to drown himself in icy waters. A decade ago, Denver cops confronted a bleeding, knife-wielding man, saving him from bleeding to death by his own hand.

From potentially deadly heights to potentially deadly rivers of ice to potentially deadly individuals whose actions are as unpredictable as anything this mortal coil has to offer.

The below video has been around a while, but I want to highlight it in this space because it so exemplifies how a situation can go from being one thing (disarming an armed man) to another (saving that same man from drowning) that it merits our attention today. 

Two officers from Lake Havasu (Ariz.) Police Department — both of whom were wearing TASER AXON Flex on-officer cameras at the time of this incident — confront an armed and suicidal man. After one of the officers deploys his TASER ECD, the subject fell into the swimming pool beside him. 

Watch to see what happens next, and prepare yourself for circumstances as rapidly unfolding as the one these two coppers encountered that day. 

•  Keep current on life-saving skills, from CPR to AED to rescue swimming (if that’s in your skill set)
•  Keep a blow-out kit (tourniquet, hemostatic agents, etc.) on your person and be ready to use it
•  Keep in mind that how you verbally handle a suicidal subject can be today’s life-saving tactic
•  Keep your head on a swivel, because as has been mentioned, things can change in an instant
•  Keep your own safety as a top priority and don’t allow yourself to take unnecessary risks
•  Keep everything in perspective, because despite your best efforts some suicides are successful

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