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Saturday, January 12, 2013

Commendable


25th May 2012
Dear Cassi,
       
I’d say you know you’ve done well when you impress a policeman with your actions, but the truth is they are just people like us. Still, as I have done my part to save a life today I have some cause to stick out my chest. I helped bring in a suicide risk today.
       
Never in my life have I been one to break my arm to pat myself on the back. Then, thanks are a rarity in my line of work. Still, as you well know, there are days when handling oneself well is commendable.
       
There are a good number of details I cannot say. However, I can put out there that I was on the phone with the suicide risk for more than an hour with four police officers staring me down asking me to find out where she was and folks coming in and out, getting in my way, and asking me what was going on as I tried to focus on what I was doing.
       
Over time I was able to get enough details about where this person was for the police to find them and take them into protective custody. It was one of the longest conversations of my life but I got the job done. I wouldn’t say I saved a life. That would be going too far. I handled myself well and even the policemen commented on how patient I was even with the pressure.
       
I tried to hand off the phone to other more experienced people but she would talk to no one but me saying that no one else would listen. Her life story came pouring out like the flood of a burst dam and all the while I had to try and ford the waters to find out where she was hiding. I kept asking if she was safe and warm. ‘Are you safe?’ I would ask. ‘Is there light? Are there cars where you are?’

During this conversation two of the policeman looked at each other and nodded. They walked out and my heart skipped a beat. The last thing she said to me was that she could see the police, and then they had her in custody.
                                                                               
Stay strong, little sister,



Richard Leland Neal

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