NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — The New Haven Police Department is praising the actions of one of their own for saving a man’s life, while he was threatening to harm himself.
Officer Chad Curry’s body camera captured his response to a call the morning of July 22 on Eastern Street about a suicidal man, holding a knife to himself.
“Whatever is going on with you is temporary… the knife. I don’t want you hurting yourself, alright?” Curry told the man. “Put down the knife. I can help you!”
During these tense moments, Curry credits recent training that gave him the tools to convince this man to not harm himself or anyone else.
“Can I make you kill me?” the man asked Curry.
“No. I don’t want to,” Curry told him. “I don’t want to kill you. I don’t want to kill anybody.”
Curry then convinced him to put the knife down.
“You put down the knife,” Curry said. “That’s great! That was a good choice that you made. I really appreciate that.”
Curry reflected on the interaction at a press conference Thursday.
“You kind of realize that, he’s looking for a second chance at that point, and I felt like I was that second chance for him. My words persuaded him. The training gave me the tools to do that.”
Assistant Chief David Zannelli said officers were just given ICAT, or integrated communications, assessment, and tactics training, last week to help with situations just like this.
“A lot of it involves slowing situations down when it’s safe for both the individual and the officer,” Zannelli said. “It involves just taking a pause and really listening to the person when communication is ongoing and you’re dealing with people with compassion.”
With recent changes at the top and the controversy surrounding the Richard “Randy” Cox case, the police department is working to be more open with the public. Another thing the police department is doing to help with transparency is installing dash cameras with multiple views in each one of their vehicles.
“We’re not there to instigate,” Zannelli said. “We’re there to help, which is the goal of the police department, to help people in crisis. We want to highlight these because it shows the public that we are listening, and it shows that we are here to help people, not hurt them.”