Officers who prevented a man from harming himself are crediting the crisis-intervention training they received with helping save the life of a suicidal citizen.
On Father’s Day, June 18, at around 6:30 pm., officers responded to a call at the Cineplex Cinemas Empress Walk near Yonge St. and Sheppard Ave.
“When we got there, there was a man standing on the top of a ledge,” said Constable Mykola Fedory. “Using the training I received at the police college, I started to look for a trigger point that people in emotional crisis have. I also tried to speak with him but he said he didn’t want to talk to me.”
Constable Jung-Yul Kim said it was obvious the man was in crisis.
“He was upset, he was crying and he was giving the impression that he could jump at any time,” said Kim. “We tried to tell him that there were children in the plaza and that, if he jumped, that would be very traumatizing for the young people. That did seem to work.”
The officers evacuated the area.
“The scene was secured by the time I got there,” said Constable Igor Palic, a Mobile Crisis Intervention Team (MCIT) trained officer. “I attempted to talk to him, but he wasn’t responding. It was clear this man was in a huge emotional crisis. The MCIT training I received kicked in. After about 30 minutes of negotiating, it was obvious he was not going to come off the ledge.”
Palic said the man was distracted by a phone call and officers were able to pull him from back over the railing.
MCIT teams, made up of a mental health nurse and police officer, respond to calls involving people in mental health crises, including thoughts of suicide or self-harm, distorted or psychotic thinking, anxiety, overwhelming depression and temporary breakdowns.
The officer and the nurse will assess an individual's specific needs, provide intervention and support at the scene, de-escalate the situation and ensure the person is connected to appropriate services. The MCIT provides a secondary response to 9-1-1 calls involving people experiencing a psychiatric or emotional crisis that requires intervention.
Toronto Fire Services also supported the officers at the scene.
You don’t need to be a police officer to empathize with someone who is in crisis and all the officers on scene really showed the empathy that should be shown. And I’m 100% sure that that young man who was about to jump did feel that care
Constable Mike Kroustallis, Palic's partner, said he was very concerned the man was going to jump.
“He kept looking at his phone and was becoming more upset,” he said. “We, however, worked as a team and, at the end of the day, we saved a life.”
Palic said that everyone on the scene rallied to do everything they could to ensure the man was safe, knowing that a false move could be fatal.
“We all enter the scene as police officers but during all this ordeal things went beyond the badge and the uniform,” Palic said. “You don’t need to be a police officer to empathize with someone who is in crisis and all the officers on scene really showed the empathy that should be showed. And I’m 100% sure that that young man who was about to jump did feel that care.”