Police deploy cat to talk suicidal man off a ledge


For three hours, a suicidal man and suspected car thief hung out a third story window, threatening to jump. Then, San Francisco police officers turned to an unorthodox solution: bringing out the man’s cat. Via the San Francisco Chronicle:

Officers set up foam pads below him as the department’s trained hostage negotiators perched precariously on a fire escape, urging the suicidal man figuratively and literally off the ledge.
But after three unsuccessful hours, reinforcements arrived — in the form of the man’s orange-and-white feline.
Using his pet, hostage negotiators were able to persuade him to go back inside the building, come down the stairs and surrender without incident.

After the cat arrived on the scene, it took just 45 minutes for the man to return to safety.

“Using the cat was ingenious,” Officer Albie Esparza, a police spokesman, told the Chronicle. “Never underestimate the power of the love between people and their pets. I think it was great to think outside the box like the officers did. It made enough of an impact on this person to bring him down and come to his senses.”

The Chronicle tells us that, as the man was handcuffed and heading to jail, the officers brought out the cat to say goodbye to him one last time.

Michael Rosen is a reporter for Fusion based out of Oakland.

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