By Caroline Hecker
O’FALLON, Missouri (KMOV) — The O’Fallon Police Department credits training and compassion after an officer’s quick thinking helped bring a teen suffering a mental health crisis to safety.
On Tuesday afternoon, O’Fallon police officers responded to the Sonderen Street overpass after receiving a call about a juvenile threatening to jump off the bridge. Once on scene, officers found a 13-year-old boy straddling the bridge’s concrete railing and threatening to jump to the interstate below.
Westbound traffic was shut down, as was traffic on the overpass. The department said semi-truck drivers helped by pulling their trailers under the overpass in case the boy jumped.
Body camera video of the incident shows Officer James Mora talking at length with the teen, who is visibly upset and asking for his phone. Officers can be seen tossing his phone onto the ground near him, which the boy picks up while still sitting on the railing. Officer Mora can be seen on video showing the boy a picture of his dog on his phone and asking him questions about the breed. Moments later, Officer Mora grabs the boy and brings him safely off the railing.
Police departments take part in Crisis Intervention Team training, giving officers tools to handle calls related to mental health concerns. Experts say the lack of mental health crisis services nationwide has led to police officers serving as first responders to many crises.
A spokesperson for the department said, “The O’Fallon Missouri Police Department is proud of Officer Mora’s selfless and quick action while dealing with a 13-year-old male in mental crisis. Our department is dedicated to crisis intervention and helping those in need.”
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