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Officer Rescues Suicidal Woman From Top of Building

TIMES STAFF WRITER

He’s a 26-year-old officer barely out of the LAPD academy, but after responding Thursday to a report of a woman threatening to jump off a five-story building, he can list an important accomplishment on his short resume: saved a life.

“It’s one of the better feelings I’ve had on the job,” LAPD Officer Tom Redshaw said Thursday evening on a break from patrol.

Redshaw, his partner, Carlos Sanchez Jr., 25, and their field supervisor, Sgt. William McAllister, were credited with saving the woman’s life.

“It’s a satisfaction--doing what you’re supposed to do,” Sanchez said.

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The woman was described only as white, in her late-20s to early 30s, with emotional problems, according to McAllister. He said that she was examined at a hospital and had not been hurt, but that other details about her were confidential.

Redshaw and Sanchez, who have been police officers two years, were beginning their shift about 3 p.m., working the CRASH anti-gang detail out of the Van Nuys station, when they heard a radio call about a suicidal woman.

At an office building in the 5900 block of Sepulveda Boulevard, the woman was sitting on the edge of the roof with one leg dangling over.

Redshaw and Sanchez, first on the scene, climbed to the roof, where McAllister joined them later.

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In such situations, McAllister said, the policy is to limit the number of officers that have direct contact with the suicidal person and to assign one officer to be the primary negotiator.

This time, Redshaw got the call.

“I was just concerned for her safety,” he said later. “I was telling her, ‘I’m here to help’ and to tell me if she needed my help.”

But every time he approached her, he said, she threatened to jump.

Down in the parking lot, other officers ordered workers to move their cars so firefighters could set up an air bag.

Fifteen minutes later, the woman threw her other leg over the roof’s edge and was hanging on only with her arms and hands. She looked fatigued and seemed to be losing strength, so Redshaw offered again to help.

This time, she accepted, he said. “She looked at me and told me it was OK to help her.”

He grabbed her by the arms and pulled her back to safety.

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Back at the station, other officers congratulated Redshaw and Sanchez, McAllister said.

Within hours, McAllister had written commendation letters for both.

“I think they did a great job,” McAllister said. “It was an outstanding response.”


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