Police negotiator helps distressed man off bridge

Sgt. Kathy Edwardsen (Submitted by PAPS)

Thanks to local police officers, a distressed man was helped off the train bridge last weekend while experiencing an emotional crisis. 

Police were called just before noon on Sunday for a report of a man on the bridge. The man refused to speak with police for some time, but eventually began nodding in response to questions. Sgt. Kathy Edwardsen, a trained crisis negotiator, was brought in to help after 45 minutes. 

Sgt. Edwardsen has more than 20 years of experience as a police officer and has been trained as a negotiator since 2004. She said very little was known about the man when she arrived and it was difficult to even get his name. 

“You could tell he was hurting. He was in pain,” Sgt. Edwardsen said.

Sgt. Edwardsen continued talking with the man as members with Parkland Ambulance and the Prince Albert Fire Department waited nearby with patrol officers. 

“I told him that we wanted to help and that we were going to stay with him for as long as it took to get him to safety,” Edwardsen said. “I said there is no problem too big it can’t be solved, and that we would try to help him get through the pain”. 

The man eventually accepted help off the bridge, where he was connected with an officer from the PAPS Police and Crisis Team. Police stayed with the man until he could be seen by a doctor to ensure he was safe. 

Sgt. Edwardsen says that working as a negotiator is all about listening. Good teamwork and help from safety partners ensured the man felt supported enough to seek medical attention. 

“It wasn’t me that brought him off that bridge, it was the team.”