Police talk man out of jumping from building

Posted: Monday, November 26, 2001

A man is in psychiatric care today after threatening to jump from a three-story apartment building Sunday morning.

Around 1 a.m. Sunday, the man was seen on the roof of the building screaming and threatening to jump. Police blocked a portion of Second Street for an hour as crisis negotiators tried to coax the man down from the roof of the Colonial Apartment Building.

Officer David Campbell, a member of the crisis negotiation team, said police had been alerted earlier in the night by the man's counselor that he might harm himself.

"His counselor called us and said the man had ended a session with him fairly abruptly and as a welfare check just to keep an eye out for him," Campbell said. "Next thing we know we get a call that a guy is on the roof and I was called in to talk to him because I was trained in crisis negotiating."

Campbell said the man suffers from manic depression and was upset over the impending holidays, Juneau's dark days and the cold weather.

When someone is in crisis, Campbell said, it is important to keep the person talking.

"He had stripped out of his coat and T-shirt and was basically standing up there in sweat pants in the cold," Campbell said. "So I offered to give him a coat if he promised not to jump and to keep talking to me."

Once the man agreed, Campbell said, the goal was to deflect the conversation away from topics that made him upset.

Campbell said one of the reasons the man finally agreed was the energy it takes to be upset and out in the cold.

"I told him I was getting tired of yelling to him, told him if he came down we wouldn't have to yell and we could keep talking and finally he agreed to come down," Campbell said.

The man was taken to Bartlett Regional Hospital and then to the Alaska Psychiatric Institute.

Melanie Plenda can be reached at mplenda@juneauempire.com.

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