Athens-Clarke Police talk man down from train trestle

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The quick work of a team of police officers helped save the life of a distressed homeless man who climbed onto a train trestle.

Athens-Clarke County Police Officer Cody Nix said he spotted the man during a routine patrol at around 1:30 a.m. on April 13.

"I just so happened to look up on the trestle that night.  Something caught my attention moving and then I heard him, you know, screaming," recalled Officer Nix. 

Emergency personnel closed the intersection and officers talked to the man to try to calm him down.

"I spoke with Sgt. [Von] Anderson and Officer Nix and they stated keep him talking," explained Officer Brendan Branning, who is part of the department's crisis negotiation team.  "One thing we're taught--if they're talking, they're not hurting themselves or other people." 

As Officer Branning talked to the man, Officer Nix and Sgt. Anderson climbed up to the trestle to try to get him down.

"We just kept trying to get closer and closer without pushing him and we just took our time," said Officer Nix. 

The officers' body cameras captured the tense scene.

"Listen to me, the only reason we're here is because we're worried about you," Sgt. Anderson is heard telling the man.

Less than half an hour after arriving on the scene, the officers were able to get the man to safety.

"I think what me and Sgt. Anderson did was what any officer in this department does.  It's what we come to work to do, you know, we come to help people and that's our focus is helping people and it felt rewarding at the time knowing that [...] I did make a difference in somebody's life that night," explained Officer Nix.