Officers prevent a person in distress from jumping off the Kirkwood Avenue bridge

Posted On Tuesday July 06, 2021

A 911 call came into the Ottawa Police Communications Centre at about 6:30 am on June 16 about a pedestrian on the highway. The Queensway is in the jurisdiction of the OPP, but the Police Communicator recognized the urgency of the situation and dispatched Ottawa Police officers before transferring the call.

Cst. Alex Slobodian was finishing her night shift and was less than two kilometres away when the ‘dangerous condition’ call came over the air.

“As I drove, I was getting updates from the Communications Centre about what was happening,” said Cst. Slobodian, who joined Ottawa Police in 2019. “I now knew the dangerous condition was in fact a person walking on the highway in the middle of the eastbound lanes and they were now standing on the Kirkwood bridge.”

Morning traffic levels were picking up, so Cst. Slobodian knew she needed to get there quickly.

She stopped her cruiser on Kirkwood Avenue and could see the person above. With her lights on to warn drivers, she jumped out of the car and stopped traffic. The person now had one leg over the guard rail.

“I was concerned for this person’s safety, but also for other members of the public,” said Cst. Slobodian. “I didn’t want there to be a collision, or if the person jumped, I didn’t want them to be further injured by a vehicle.”

She spoke with the person, while giving other officers directions where to go. Cst. Shayne Doiron and a Good Samaritan grabbed hold and pulled the person to safety.

Fortunately, the person only had one leg over the barrier, making it much safer for the officers to physically intervene.

“Thanks to the member of the public who called this in,” said Cst. Slobodian. “As police, we’d rather get multiple calls about the same incident than none. Your phone call may have saved this person’s life.”