• October 19, 2019
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Queens Chronicle

Hero detectives save would-be jumper

Kevin Rodgers and Sean Blake were able to talk man out of suicide

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Posted: Thursday, August 8, 2019 10:30 am

The 112th Precinct serves Forest Hills and Rego Park, but a pair of detectives traveled to the Brooklyn Bridge to save a man.

It was July 27 when Dets. Kevin Rodgers and Sean Blake received a call from patrol units that there was a missing person who was possibly suicidal.

Blake notified the Technical Assistance Response Unit to start the process of getting a GPS track of the man’s cell phone.

The detectives met with the parents of the 27-year-old Forest Hills man. As they searched the apartment they found a suicide note.

“There were also some text messages to his father that clearly stated that he wanted to do harm to himself,” Rodgers said.

The man didn’t want to be a financial burden on his family.

“It was disheartening to learn that somebody was at that point in their life, at such a young point in their life, that he was willing to do something so drastic,” Rodgers said.

The Technical Assistance Response Unit informed the detectives that it had located him.

“It was hitting right in the middle of the Brooklyn Bridge and hadn’t moved,” Rodgers said of the GPS locator.

The detectives began to drive over to the bridge while Sgt. William Eisner, the squad’s commanding officer, notified the 84th Precinct of the situation and requested officers at the Brooklyn Bridge also respond.

“We felt that it was a bit of a dire situation that we needed to act as quickly as possible, especially when I had him on the line,” Rodgers said of their action to drive over.

Speaking to the man on the phone, the detectives were able to use what they learned from the parents during the tense talk.

“I just sort of used that as a tool and just say, ‘Hey, I know you went to this college and you graduated. What do you mean you don’t have nothing to live for? You have a college degree and you’re into IT. It’s a good career to be in.’ And that’s when I think I started to get him to sort of turn,” Rodgers said.

At the start of the 30-minute drive, Rodgers said, the man “seemed very tense at first and it got kind of scary there for a minute.”

Finally, the man took a deep breath.

“I sort of knew I got him,” Rodgers said, adding, “I felt a calmness sort of come over him” as the detectives were on the Brooklyn-Queens Expressway.

“My heart went out to this kid,” Rodgers said. “He was a bit of an introvert and he wanted to not be a burden on anybody anymore. And I felt bad.”

Explaining to the man that suicide isn’t worth it, Rodgers was able to establish a personal connection.

The detective also explained that he was not going to be in trouble.

“This is not going to be lights and sirens,” Rodgers said. “We’re not going to go in handcuffs.”

The bridge cops were escorting the man when the detectives got to the location and introduced themselves.

“I’m Rodgers. I’m the one that you’ve been on the phone with.”

“Oh, nice to meet you.”

“I’m glad you didn’t do anything to hurt yourself,” Rodgers said.

Neither Rodgers nor Blake had been in a situation like this before but Rodgers credited the training he received.

“A lot of training goes into this,” he said. “Communication is key, especially being a detective. Being able to elicit information and communicate with people on many different levels.”

There wasn’t much fanfare when the detectives went back to the precinct.

“It’s our job, really,” Rodgers said. “It’s what we do.”

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