Officers Brandi Madrid, who was one of the first cops on the scene, and Candace Bisagna explained to the station that it took three hours to convince the man not to jump.
“I tried to stay as calm as I could, but to see someone hanging off a bridge, your stomach does drop, you feel that gut feeling,” Madrid said, adding that she first had to try and gain the man’s trust.
“The biggest thing is actually listening,” Madrid said. “He has a lot to say and a lot to express, so the main thing is taking it all in and listening to what he has to say.”
But angry drivers obstructed with the process.
“It was awful,” she said. “I’d start to build that rapport with him, speak with him and then all of a sudden a semi truck or a car would speed by and you can hear them repeating over and over again ‘just jump, just jump, just do it.’”
After that, Madrid said she had to start all over again in building a basic understanding with the man.
“He didn’t want to speak with any male officers,” Bisagna said. “He stated that he didn’t trust them, and he didn’t want to be around them.”
After helping the man, the two cops have a message. “Be compassionate and show a little bit of empathy with his situation,” Bisagna said. “I mean he’s someone’s son, someone’s brother.”
The trial took place on Sunday, encouraging the closure of I-40. However, KOAT-TV reported that it was reopened shortly after.
Authorities took the man into custody, KOAT-TV said.