Tuesday, January 17, 2023 began as a regular day for detective constables Jahdiel Kennedy, Monic Ingram, and Andre Reynolds.
That, however, changed quickly when a citizen rushed into the May Pen Police Station to report that a woman was atop the May Pen bridge looking as if she was ready to jump.
The three young gumshoes — trained to expect the unexpected and fully aware that every day on the job comes with different challenges and experiences — rushed to the bridge within minutes and quickly switched into rescue mode.
"When we reached the bridge and saw the lady up there. It was very scary. However, Kennedy immediately climbed onto the top of the bridge and started pleading with the woman not to jump," Reynolds related.
Kennedy's effort to dissuade the distraught May Pen resident from plunging to a possible death was made more difficult by people in the large crowd that had gathered below encouraging the woman to jump.
"I pleaded with her to give life a chance. She reluctantly made up her mind for me to assist her down," Kennedy explained.
However, during the rescue Murphy's Law — "Anything that can go wrong will go wrong" — kicked in as the woman passed out, making Kennedy's task more difficult.
Police, though, are trained to remain calm amid adversity so that aspect of the training was promptly activated by Kennedy. The woman was taken safely to ground and rushed to hospital for treatment.
The speed with which Kennedy got to the top of a bridge and persuaded the woman not a jump remains a big puzzle to his colleagues, because he is not known to be a talker.
"It was after everything was over I realised I really put my life at risk to save hers. If she had held on to me both of us would go crashing to the surface and anything could happen," Kennedy said.
His heroic act, though, would not surprise his mother, a teacher who taught him and his two sisters — one a nurse and the other a teacher — the value of altruism and the importance of service.
For Ingram, the utterances from the crowd when they got there as well as the comment made by a woman when they were clearing traffic to rush the rescued woman to hospital showed the dark side of some of her fellow Jamaicans.
"I heard the utterances of passersby towards the female, and I was disgusted. Persons were telling her to jump, and take the situation for a joke. However, Kennedy started climbing the bridge and got to where the female was. He was so brave, as he always is. He was talking to her and encouraging her to come down slowly. When I saw that she was about to fall I shouted 'Hold har!' Kennedy held her up while some municipal officers, Reynolds, and other persons held out their hands to catch them if they fell," Ingram said.
"When she was safely on the ground I breathed a sigh of relief. I was happy that she was down and nothing serious happened to her. And even then, when we were trying to get the vehicle through the bridge to take the woman to the hospital, a female passenger on a bus uttered, "A so unnu weh have the law inna unnu hand love abuse it." I was so upset but I just continued to instruct the driver to free the traffic, because getting her medical attention was now our priority," Ingram said.
Head of the May Pen Criminal Investigation Branch, Deputy Superintendent Jermaine Anglin was full of praise for his young charges.
"I would like to commend these three young detective constables from the May Pen Police Station who displayed the true definition of going above and beyond to serve by assisting a woman clearly in distress who had climbed onto the May Pen Bridge in Clarendon on January 17," he said.
"When they arrived, I was told Detective Constable Kennedy sprang into action and climbed several metres onto the bridge and assisted her down – a true display of courage and dedication by this young detective who swore to serve and protect without favour or affection," Anglin said.
Over the past 10 years at least three people have jumped to their deaths from the May Pen bridge.
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