PALMDALE – A California Highway Patrol Officer and a Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department Sergeant, who talked a suicidal man off a freeway overpass back in January, were honored at Wednesday’s city council meeting.
Mental Health America (MHA) and the Palmdale City Council presented City Commendations to CHP officer Michael Talbot and LASD Sgt. John Rush for their heroic efforts in suicide prevention.
The ceremony was held before a packed room of high-ranking officers from both departments and family members of the honorees.
“While it’s helpful to receive special training in crisis negotiations, suicide prevention really requires individuals who have enough compassion and caring to make a connection to those who have lost all hope and purpose in life,” said MHA executive director Judy Cooperberg. “Our community is proud of the officers… they possess all these characteristics when they offered hope and solace to that young man they saved last January 20th.”
The Antelope Valley community’s suicide rate ranks the highest in Los Angeles County and poses a serious public health issue, according to MHA.
Cooperberg said, with such a prevalent suicide incidence rate in the Antelope Valley, she has pledged to work toward more mental health resources for the community.