A city of Atlanta police officer is being saluted as a hero after successfully talking a woman out of jumping from an overpass off I-20 Monday.
“I heard a suicide call and I’ve had a success in the past and decided let me go over to Moreland and I-20….to offer my assistance,” Officer Lisa McGhaw said.
McGhaw said she saw a woman on the ledge "and immediately just jumped in and offered my assistance.”
“I made a conscious decision to go over the ledge," McGhaw said. "She was apprehensive at first but after awhile of speaking with her, I was able to close enough with her and attempt to build a rapport.”
McGhaw is trained in Crisis Intervention Training, also known as CIT training. The training focuses on de-escalation techniques such as listening and being patient when dealing with people with mental health issues.
“It was clear to me that she was desperate,” McGhaw said.
The patrol officer spent an hour on the ledge talking and listening to the woman.
“The ledge did not intimidate me,” McGhaw said. “The sole thought process was to get her to safety.”
McGhaw said she and the woman reached a breakthrough and developed an exit strategy together, standing up together when SWAT members were able to pull the woman back over the ledge.
“I’m not a hero. I’m just a patrol officer with the city of Atlanta doing my job as required. I just happen to feel that my presence was needed at the scene at that time.”
Yet, the officer credits her CIT training for equipping her with skills she needed to help those in need.
“When I first came on, we did not have (CIT training] but after years and years of lobbying for mental health, the city of Atlanta decided to go ahead and make it mandatory for us to take that training,” she said.
“I’ve used those CIT training skills several times before, and have had plenty of successes," McGhaw said. “I’m very grateful I had those tools at the time.”