“…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 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:
- Golden Gate Bridge Suicide Physical Deterrent System Project
- The Bridge Rail Foundation
- The Kevin Hines Story
- Recovery Hero of the Week: Kevin Briggs
- Suicide is Not an Option
- Suicide is preventable — Know the Signs
- National Suicide Prevention Hotline 1-800-273-8255
No 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.