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Hero police officer spends 4 hours talking young man out of suicide

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IDAHO FALLS — A humble police officer acted as a father figure while persuading an armed young man not to take his own life Friday.

Idaho Falls Police Officer Bart Whiting spent four hours talking with the man, which ultimately resulted in a peaceful outcome.

“It was a very tense situation that could have ended very poorly,” Idaho Falls Police spokeswoman Holly Cook told EastIdahoNews.com.

Officers responded to the call of the suicidal man around 1 a.m. They found him on Shoup Avenue in downtown Idaho Falls. He was pacing the sidewalk with a gun in his hand.

Cook said under the direction of Sgt. Jessica Marley, more than 10 officers responded. The high level of threat lasted almost an hour, Cook said, but Whiting went above and beyond to help the man by staying with him an additional three hours.

“In this specific situation, the person was outdoors (in) downtown, so it was a very tense situation. We had traffic blocked off — those sorts of things,” Cook said. “Officer Whiting diffused the situation perfectly, and everything ended peacefully.”

The Bonneville County Sheriff’s office also assisted with the call and Cook said crisis training that deputies and officers receive was beneficial to this situation.

The man is now being treated and is likely alive thanks to Whiting’s patience and kindness.

“(Officer Whiting) referred him to other resources to help him with those thoughts and basically went above and beyond to make sure this doesn’t happen again with this particular gentleman,” Cook said.

Suicide Prevention Resources

If you or someone you know is struggling with thoughts of suicide, EastIdahoNews.com encourages you to call the Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline at 1-208-398-HELP [4357] or 1-800-273-TALK [8255].

Local Resources

Behavioral Health Center at EIRMC: 208-227-2100
Behavioral Health Crisis Center: 208-522-0727

Online resources

Idaho Suicide Prevention Program: www.spp.dhw.idaho.gov
SPAN Idaho (Suicide Prevention Action Network): www.spanidaho.org
Suicide Prevention Lifeline: www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org
Suicide Prevention Resource Center: www.sprc.org

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