City Cop Convinces Would-Be Suicide Not to Jump
Friday, November 2, 2012 • 12:36pm
PATERSON, NJ - In a week filled with crises, Paterson Police Sgt. Douglas Romary faced a monumental one Thursday night at the Trenton Avenue overpass.
Romary was on the safe side of the bridge's metal fence. On the other was a 21-year-old Paterson man, distraught, talking about jumping from the narrow ledge. Down below on Route 80 were the passing lights of rush hour traffic. There was no way to grab the man, no way to pull him to safety other than with words.
Romary had gone through training for this sort of thing, back before he joined the police department's crisis negotiation team in the spring. But training was one thing. Talking someone out of killing himself was another. This was Romary''s first time.
The head of the crisis team, Lt. Richard Reyes, received his initial call about the situation at 6:46 pm. Fifty-six minutes later, came word that Romary had succeeded.
"Anytime that anyone in the crisis negotiations team is successful, obviously, we're proud of them,'' Reyes said. "As a police officer, sometimes it's difficult to see our successes. You make an arrest, but the victim has already been victimized. This is one of those situations you can feel you directly saved someone's life.''
Romary was not available for an interview early Friday. He was scheduled to work a night shift.
Meanwhile, the man he talked off the ledge was taken away in an ambulance for medical treatment. Reyes said Romary may have saved more than one life.
"Other people could have been hurt if he jumped,'' said Reyes.