Newark, NJ cop uses ’empathy and compassion’ to save suicidal teen on rooftop
NEWARK — An officer was commended for removing a window and climbing out onto a roof to talk a teenage girl out of jumping.
Newark Public Safety Director Brian A. O’Hara said Officer Elijah Melvin was part of the response to a report of "family trouble" at a home in the South Ward around 5 p.m. Wednesday.
He spoke to the girl, who said she was upset about the loss of an older brother.
He shared with the teen the relationship he has with his younger sister and told her that her brother would want her to live her life to the fullest.
"This video was difficult for me to watch because it's obvious the pain this young person was feeling was very real. Empathy and compassion are the tools most needed in situations like these. And Officer Melvin used those tools skillfully in de-escalating an emotionally charged situation to save this teen’s life," O'Hara said.
The girl decided to not jump by 5:20 p.m. and agreed to come in from the roof with Melvin and other first responders.
O'Hara said that because of Melvin's efforts, "we are celebrating a life that was preserved by a caring Newark Police Officer who presented himself as a big brother to a distraught teen."
If you feel you or someone you know may be in crisis, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline, 1-800-273-TALK, or the NJ Hopeline, 1-855-654-6735