Fort Lee, NJ – Port Authority Police Officer Jesse Turano prevented a man from jumping off of the George Washington Bridge to his inevitable death recently. While that’s an impressive and heroic feat all its own, it’s becoming something of a mundane practice for Officer Turano.
It’s the fifth time he has done this exact thing just this year.
At around 10pm on Tuesday (and toward the end of his shift), Turano responded to a jumper call at the GW Bridge. He encountered the man first from his cruiser.
“I asked him to stop several times and he refused,” he recalled. “I kept driving, and as I looked at him I got the sense that he was possibly emotionally disturbed. I could just tell by his mannerisms and his behavior.”
Turano exited his cruiser and chased the bridge jumper down, grabbing him around the waist and pulling him back just as he tried to fling himself over the edge.
“All of a sudden he put his hands on the outer railing,” Turano said. “He put his foot on the cement, and he went to kick off the cement, and I just jumped at him. I put my right arm around his waist, then I wrapped my left arm around him, and once I got a secure grip on him I used my body weight to pull him down onto the walkway.
“I handcuffed him for both of our safety, then called for back up,” he said.
Ont he way to the hospital, the would-be jumper admitted to Turano (who rode along like a boss) that he was tired of looking for work after being unemployed for three years.
“He said he had enough and he wanted to kill himself,” Turano said. “He kept thanking me and I said the best thanks you can give me is if you get yourself some help.”
According to the Port Authority, Turano has saved four other people from a similar fate just this year.
For his own part, the 33-year-old humbly noted that it wasn’t something he or other officers were keeping track of. “I guess it’s always good if you save somebody’s life,” he said. “But I don’t really think about it too much.”
Sound off, readers! What do you think of New Jersey’s hero cop, who always seems to be in the right place at the right time, giving hope to the hopeless? Okay, maybe he’s not all that. But I feel safer knowing he’s out there.
[Image via: Frances Micklow/The Star-Ledger