Guardian of the Golden Gate

“…Kevin Briggs, a friendly, sandy-haired motorcycle patrolman, has a knack for spotting jumpers and talking them back from the edge; he has coaxed in more than two hundred potential jumpers without losing one over the side. He won the Highway Patrol’s Marin County Uniformed Employee of the Year Award last year. Briggs told me that he starts talking to a potential jumper by asking, “How are you feeling today?” Then, “What’s your plan for tomorrow?” If the person doesn’t have a plan, Briggs says, “Well, let’s make one. If it doesn’t work out, you can always come back here later.” Jumpers: The fatal grandeur of the Golden gate Bridge, by Tad Friend, The New Yorker Magazine, 2003 

Every now and then a person comes into our lives and makes an impression that motivates us to stretch and grow beyond our limited experience in the world. For me, such a person is Kevin Briggs, a California Highway Patrol officer who has, as part of his patrol area, the Golden Gate Bridge.

I have known Kevin since 1999, when I began working as a rotating shift electrician, and can attest to his genuine compassion and unending drive to save lives. I was on duty the night he spent over 7 hours talking someone “back over the rail”. That incident is cited in this video and what you do not know is that Kevin was out there without a jacket, or long-sleeved shirt, through three rainstorms during the course of the rescue.

Kevin is as fine an example of a human being as I have come across — calm when the chips are down and respectful to people of all walks of life, especially on the worst day of their life.

The most difficult transition for me when I came to work at the bridge was getting used to the fact that people came to my workplace and killed themselves. I have not “seen it all” by any means, but I have seen a lot and it is tragic, both for the victim (the 10-31, radio-speak for a suicide), their family & friends, and for the first-responders who have to deal with the situation and the aftermath.

Here is a man who is making a difference for all of us:

Related links:

LogoNo matter what problems you are dealing with, we want to help you find a reason to keep living. By calling 1-800-273-TALK (8255) you’ll be connected to a skilled, trained counselor at a crisis center in your area, anytime 24/7.

  23 comments for “Guardian of the Golden Gate

  1. December 3, 2015 at 6:20 PM

    What a job. For Kevin Briggs, and for you. Is there a book here, Allan?


    • December 4, 2015 at 4:38 AM

      There is a book for him, that’s for sure. As for me, just a lot of observations and reflections.

      Liked by 1 person

    January 15, 2014 at 7:31 PM

    Thanks so much for sharing this. In all of your posts about working on the bridge I thought it was a glorious job and this never entered my mind. Wouldn’t it be nice if everyone had someone like Kevin that just doesn’t give up when the need is greatest.


    • January 15, 2014 at 10:01 PM

      The most difficult part of my first year working at the bridge was getting used to the idea that people went out of their way to kill themselves at my workplace.

      Thanks for your comments and observation about Kevin. He is retired and writing a book about his experience.

      Sent from my iPhone



        January 17, 2014 at 8:10 PM

        No, thank you actually Allan.


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