MIAMI BEACH, Florida. (TodayNews) — Two Miami Beach police officers are hailed as heroes after they talk a man out of making a deadly decision six stories high.
Despair played out on the roof of a building located at 1041 Collins Ave., Wednesday.
Body camera video and footage from Only in Dade showed a man whose legs at one point dangled off the edge of a rooftop as he threatened to kill himself.
He’ll be there for hours, as will the Miami Beach police officers who were tasked with coaxing him.
“As I approached, I heard him screaming,” Miami Beach Police Officer Julio Blanco said.
It is in such situations that the emergency intervention specialists of the police department are called.
“We talked to him for an hour,” Miami Beach Police Officer Noel Castillo said.
Castillo is the lead coach of the hostage negotiation group.
“When we first got here, his legs went over the edge,” Blanco said.
Blanco is a veteran with 20 years of experience in the hostage negotiation team. Officers on Thursday picked up 7News and drove us to where they saved lives just a day earlier.
“And he talked about jumping,” Blanco said.
Blanco and Castillo used their 30 years as negotiators.
In most cases, their job is not to help the hostages, but to convince someone in a crisis to reconsider their terrible decision and not hurt themselves.
When asked if he sometimes had doubts about whether he would be able to prevent suicide, Castillo replied: “Of course, these thoughts run through your mind, but you have to separate them.”
“It’s step by step,” Castillo continued. “We’ll start by listening, building rapport, but you just have to be patient.”
This is what they did as a duet on Wednesday here, as seen in images provided by 7News.
“When I first saw him, I recognized him,” Blanco said.
Blanco knew the victim while working as a local resource officer and approached him for help. Their past interactions have helped establish trust.
“We get enough experience by coming here again and again,” said Castillo.
This will help the officers get the man to safety and then to the hospital.
“People hear ‘de-escalation’, they think it’s more of a verb than a noun,” Castillo said. “It’s not something you do to someone. This is not a Jedi trick; it’s a process.”
Shortly before Blanco and Castillo talked him out of the edge of the roof, the man asked for something cold, so the officers gave him milk.
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