MORROW, Ga. - City of Morrow police officers helped save the life of a man who was considering taking his own life.
Officer Bethany Mills was the first to respond to the Jonesboro Road bridge over Interstate 75 last Friday.
She said she found the man sitting behind the bridge.
"He’s sitting there and he’s rocking back and forth and I get out and I don’t want to just run up to him. I say, 'Hey, I’m not going to hurt you. You’re not in trouble,'" she said.
Mills got closer and started to talk to him. She said she knew he needed human connection and a reminder that life will get better.
"I kind of became a friend to him in that moment. That's what he needed," Mills said.
In the body camera video, you can hear her say " I’ve been through some struggles myself. I used to live from couch to couch."
"I brought out my own experiences. I was completely vulnerable with this man," Mills said.
The man opened up to Mills, saying he was tired, unemployed, and using drugs.
Mills can be heard in the video reassuring the man she is not judging him.
A short time later Officer Cory Byrdlong showed up.
In the body cam video, you can hear officer Byrdlong say"I think your family wants you to be here man and I want you to be here too."
He can be heard telling the man he has a lot to live for.
"The most important thing you can do is build a level of trust with that subject, for them to know that this person’s here to help me," Byrdlong said.
Sergeant Matthew Beaver was also on scene. He was able to bond with the man over their previous jobs in HVAC and how a criminal record doesn't mean you can't turn your life around.
The man agreed to let paramedics take him to get some help.
"We’re here to catch the bad guy but we’re also here to be a helping hand. Every cop I know when they went in and we’re asked why do you want to be a police officer, it was always because you want to help someone. Always," Sgt. Beaver said.
Police Chief Renan Lopez commended their actions by saying "this police department is committed to providing the very best policing by serving the community and protecting its citizens, even if that means protecting one of its citizens from himself."
If you or a loved one is feeling distressed, call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline. The crisis center provides free and confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to civilians and veterans. Call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 (tel:18002738255). Or text HOME to 741-741 (Crisis Text Line)
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