(Wampsville, NY – June 13, 2013) Late last week, Madison County Sheriff’s Deputies were dispatched to an incident with reports of a suicidal subject. Deputies, along with the State Police located the suicidal and despondent female subject that had threatened to jump off the gorge at the Chittenango Falls State Park in the Town of Cazenovia just before 7:30 p.m.
Deputy Shawn Burbidge was the first law enforcement officer to arrive at the scene and located the female, who had climbed over a fence separating the sidewalk observation area of the falls from the edge of the cliff leading to the base of the falls.
Burbidge and State Trooper Miles Robertson, who arrived shortly after Burbidge, began engaging the subject with verbal communication with no acknowledgement.
Burbidge, with the assistance of Trooper Robertson, tied himself off to the fence with a rope around his waist, climbed over the fence to observe the subject, who was standing on the edge of cliff, approximately 150 feet above the base of the falls.
As Burbidge engaged her verbally again, the subject looked to Burbidge to acknowledge him, then turned back to the edge, beginning to lean Deputy Burbidge and Kota forward. At that moment, Burbidge reached his arms around the female and held her, being pulled back up to the fence line by Robertson.
“This Office does not typically report on incidents of this type” said Madison County Sheriff Allen Riley, “however, due to the actions of Deputy Burbidge, who clearly displayed a calm and reassuring demeanor at the scene, and without regard to his own safety, placed himself at great risk in saving a life that evening.”
Riley continued by saying “the quick actions of both Deputy Burbidge and Trooper Robertson in saving this individual were heroic.”
The subject was transported by CAVAC Ambulance to a Syracuse hospital for evaluation.
Burbidge, a six-and-a-half year veteran of the Madison County Sheriff’s Office, is also a K9 handler.