The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund has selected Officers Candace Bisagna and Brandi Madrid of the Albuquerque, New Mexico Police Department, as the recipients of its Officer of the Month Award for October 2016.
Located in the nation’s capital, the National Law Enforcement Officer’s Memorial Fund is a nonprofit organization dedicated to honoring the service and sacrifice of America’s law enforcement officers. The Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Award Program began in 1996 and recognizes federal, state, and local officers who distinguish themselves through exemplary law enforcement service and devotion to duty.
Officers Candace Bisagna and Brandi Madrid, along with the other Officer of the Month Award recipients for 2016, will be honored during National Police Week at a special awards ceremony in Washington, DC, in May 2017.
On May 29, 2016, a man climbed over a security fence on an overpass over I-40 in Albuquerque, New Mexico. After he threatened to jump, the police were called to assist, but he refused to speak with the male officers who arrived first. Officer Brandi Madrid arrived at the scene next; this was her first experience in a situation like this.
“I started to build that rapport with him,” Officer Madrid said. “He just seemed like he had a lot he was holding within. He seemed to be very upset so for most of that time, I really just listened.”
Officer Candace Bisagna volunteered to help with the call because of her experience helping distressed individuals who were at risk of suicide. Upon arriving at the scene, she recognized the man as someone she had talked off a bridge just one month earlier.
The officers used their Crisis Intervention Training to gain the man’s trust, but then, angry drivers below began shouting for him to jump. Their shouts distressed the man again and the officers had to work to calm him down again.
“For us, that’s frustrating because [the shouts were] amplifying his emotions,” Officer Bisagna said. “We’d make a little bit of headway, and someone would yell that, and we’d have to go back and build it back up. Finally they blocked off the exits from where we were so no one could yell at him, and it was a lot more helpful. But the whole time, you’re just kind of praying he doesn’t jump.”
After three hours in the sweltering heat, Officers Bisagna and Madrid were able to talk the man back over the fence, and he peacefully surrendered. The Crisis Intervention Team was told to keep a closer eye on the man and get him the medical attention he needed.
“We are required to take what’s called a Crisis Intervention Team Course where they set up scenarios, such as people who are on the edge of a bridge or are feeling like hurting themselves,” Officer Madrid said. “They give you the tools to successfully make a good outcome of it. Because of that, I was able to use those tools for that incident, and it really paid off.”
“I think all of the training we’re provided helped us be successful,” added Officer Bisagna.
Just two days later, Officer Madrid helped save the life of a female who attempted to jump off another bridge in the city.
“Officers Candace Bisagna and Brandi Madrid are a prime example of how crisis prevention training is important for all law enforcement,” Memorial Fund President and CEO Craig W. Floyd said. “The devotion they showed in those extreme circumstances is honorable and deserving of the October 2016 Officer of the Month Award.”
For more information about the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund’s Officer of the Month Award, visit www.LawMemorial.org/OTM