Trooper Kareem Washington
NEWBURGH–Three New York State Police troopers were honored this spring for pulling a suicidal woman off the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge.
Troopers Kareem Washington and Adam Ferstand of Troop F and Brian Kieckhafer of Troop T were heralded on May 30 by Superintendent George Beach II at the annual awards ceremony in Albany.
Washington, a 14-year veteran with the state police, said the unidentified woman was staring down at the water when troopers approached her last June just before 1 p.m.
She assured them she would not harm herself, but minutes later, she scaled the railing and was standing on the ledge, poised to jump.
The three troopers reacted quickly, grabbing and restraining her and pulling her to safety. She was later transported to a nearby hospital for a mental evaluation.
Washington said his goal as a state police officer not only is to maintain order but help people in distress. He reminded those considering suicide to pick up the phone at the call boxes along the region’s five spans operated by the New York State Bridge Authority.
The Walkway Over the Hudson, linking Highland to Poughkeepsie, also has two hotline phones connecting pedestrians in distress with mental health professionals.
Washington said in this day and age when anger and division are prevalent, community residents need to look out for each other and lend a hand to those suffering from mental illness.