Officer describes saving woman from jumping off I-20 bridge

- Police have to be prepared for anything, and this was a situation where the right words really mattered.

On Monday, a woman threatened to jump off the Moreland Avenue bridge onto Interstate 20.

The SWAT team surrounded her, but it was the words of a single officer that convinced her not to take her own life.

That officer is now talking publicly about what exactly happened at that moment.

Officer Lisa McGhaw wasn't assigned to the call on Monday morning, but she heard it on the radio and thought she could help. McGhaw, a 12-year veteran, knew from her training that she could succeed if she built a rapport with the troubled woman.

McGhaw sat on the overpass with the woman at a safe distance and began talking to her.

"She made a request for cigarettes and, lo and behold, I had some cigarettes in my bag," McGhaw said. "So I retrieved the cigarettes, gave her the cigarettes, and she became more at ease."

McGhaw said she could see that the woman's comfort level was changing – becoming more positive.

"That's when I was able to go ahead and, you know, execute something in my head, an exit plan," she said.

McGhaw was able to convince the woman, who likes to be called Bree Bree, not to jump and the two hugged before leaving the bridge. The woman was treated at the scene and then transported to a local hospital. 

She credited a lot of what she could do to a crisis intervention training that is in place now with the Atlanta Police Department. That training wasn't available when she began the job 12 years ago.

When asked if she felt she was a hero given the circumstances, McGhaw shunned that label, saying she was just doing her job.

RELATED: First responders save woman from jumping off I-20 overpass

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