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Video: Mont. officer rescues suicidal teen on bridge

Officer Jacob Smith spoke to the teen for more than 35 minutes, gradually persuading him to climb over barriers and back to the safety of the road


Great Falls Police Department

Editor’s Note: Suicide is always preventable. If you are having thoughts of suicide or feeling suicidal, please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline immediately at 988. Counselors are also available to chat at Remember: You deserve to be supported, and it is never too late to seek help. Speak with someone today.

By Joanna Putman

GREAT FALLS, Mont. — An officer’s dash cam footage shows the heartwarming moment an officer convinces a teen not to leap from a Montana bridge.

Video of the incident, which occurred in September, was released Oct. 27 on the Great Falls Police Department’s Facebook page. It shows Officer Jacob Smith putting his cruiser into reverse and driving back to where a person can be seen climbing over a railing.

“He’s jumping right now,” Smith said on his radio. “Hey, Buddy! Don’t do it. Will you talk to me, please?”

According to a KRTV report, Smith spent more than 35 minutes talking to the teen. The two-minute video released by the department shows each movement the teen makes back toward Smith, straddling, then climbing over a series of railings.

At one point, the teen revealed to Smith that he had an airsoft pistol in his waistband. Smith convinced him to toss it over the railing and onto the road. Rescue vehicles arrived at the scene, including a boat in the river below, and a Good Samaritan came to assist Smith in talking with the teen.

The end of the video shows the teen climbing over the last of the railings and onto the road, where he immediately, tightly embraced Smith.

“To see that reward of getting that young man to get help. He got treatment, and he called me afterward and he thanked me for everything and he’s kind of stayed in touch. We’ve bounced things off each other and he’s expressed interest in becoming law enforcement. That gratification isn’t just the one-minute hug on the bridge, it’s everything that follows that. It’s to see that he’s still getting that care and help he needs,” Smith told KRTV.