The Jan. 9 news story "Would-Be Jumper Ties Up Traffic," about the man threatening suicide, did not reflect the professional work of the men and women of law enforcement and emergency services.
Our goal was to safeguard the lives of motorists on I-95 and save the life of the man considering suicide. To that end, we closed three lanes of traffic upon arrival, opened one lane five minutes later, opened two lanes 30 minutes later and had the man safely in custody in 56 minutes.
The article also does not report on the effective on-scene management by Maryland State Police supervisors in cooperation with Virginia State Police supervisors, which led to the swift resolution.
The Post's article also reviews a similar suicide threat. Following that incident, all agencies involved in response to law enforcement issues on the Wilson Bridge met and decided to take appropriate measures to ensure that such closures did not recur.
We knew that our decision would increase risk to personnel responsible for resolution of incidents but accepted the challenge from the public.
"Would-Be Jumper Ties Up Traffic" also stated the suspect "was coaxed away from the edge of the span."
I feel certain that if witnesses who saw the "arrest" of the man on the flexing bridge were interviewed in the cold of winter, they would not agree he was "coaxed" toward the police who arrested him. Considering the magnitude and possibilities of injuries to the arresting troopers, we consider this a professional job for our citizens and visitors in the Washington metro area.
CLARENCE W. BELL JR.
Commanding Forestville Barrack
Maryland State Police