Atlanta officer helped talk woman off interstate overpass

Atlanta officer helped talk woman off interstate overpass

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Atlanta Police Department
Atlanta police work to rescue woman during suicide attempt.
  • Story Highlights
  • Atlanta police got a call about suicide attempt 10 a.m. Monday. 
  • The woman was talked down from the ledge after an hour of negotiations. 
  • This was the second successful negotiation for Officer Lisa McGhaw. 

When Atlanta police Officer Lisa McGhaw got the call about a suicidal woman at an overpass near Moreland Avenue, she rushed straight to the scene. 

McGhaw had successfully helped another person in a similar situation — and this time would be no different. 

“The sole thought process was to get her to safety,” she said.  “The ledge was pretty steep, but I didn’t focus on that. My primary focus was her.” 

The call came in to Atlanta police about 10 a.m. Monday, prompting officials to close a section of I-20 westbound for 45 minutes. 

McGhaw told Channel 2 Action News “it was clear to me that she was desperate.” 

“(The victim) shared some things with me regarding what she had going on for the day,” McGhaw said, “and I did my best to basically, I don’t know, build a rapport with her. I shared with her some of my personal situations and issues where I can relate to what she was going through at that time.” 

McGhaw got the woman food and after an hour of negotiations was able to talk her off the ledge. The woman was taken to a local hospital. 

Officer Lisa McGhaw describes her thought process in talking a woman off a ledge. (Atlanta Police Department)

McGhaw credited the successful negotiation to her crisis intervention training which helped her address the woman’s mental health issues. 

“Some of us are equipped with the ability to overcome it by ourselves and some of us are not,” she told Channel 2. “I just encourage people to be mindful that even though this person may look normal on the outside, they may have a lot going on inside (and) we need to be mindful of those issues.”

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