The North Miami Police Department’s “Officers of the Month” for October 2012 are Officer Elizabeth Gutierrez and Officer Niel Johnson both currently assigned to the Patrol Division, Afternoon Shift. They were nominated by Sergeant Ernesto Reyes for their diligence, understanding and compassion. Officer Gutierrez has been a Police Officer for eight years and Officer Johnson for 20 years. Sergeant Reyes nominated them for the following:
On October 11, 2012, Officers Gutierrez and Johnson were dispatched to a call, received via a third party, that an individual was going to commit suicide by jumping off the balcony of an apartment building at 15051 Royal Oaks Lane, 21st floor. The officers expeditiously responded and made contact with the subject, who was standing on the outside narrow ledge of the balcony railing, holding on to the railing with only his arms. Both officers made an attempt to gain a rapport with the subject. At first he was not talking with the officers, whatsoever. The officers remained consistent and showed great patience. They gathered information related to the cause of the subject's distress, which were financial issues. Their diligence resulted in success. The subject began to communicate with the officers and trust was established. Officer Johnson incorporated his life experiences in the conversation to gain even more of the subject's trust and understanding. After further dialogue, the subject complied with the officers' requests to step off the balcony and he came back inside the apartment without any further incident. The subject was later taken to Aventura Hospital for an involuntary psychiatric evaluation.
This was a highly stressful incident that Officers Gutierrez and Johnson handled professionally, utilizing their skills and showing understanding and compassion for the subject.
Officers Elizabeth Gutierrez and Niel Johnson were chosen as the Officers of the Month for October 2012 and will be honored at the Greater North Miami Chamber of Commerce luncheon, held monthly at the Miami Shores Country Club on Wednesday, November 28, 2012 at 12:00 Noon.