Police officers in Vernon spent hours in the middle of the night with a teenager who was having a mental health crisis on a rooftop, eventually talking her down to safety.
Shortly after 3 a.m. Wednesday, May 4, the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP fielded a request to assist a person who had climbed to the top of a building in the 2900 block of 28th Avenue.
After making contact with the teen, it quickly became clear to officers that she was suffering from a mental health crisis.
Police shut off power to the building and cordoned off part of the downtown core, as safety measures for the teen and responding officers.
Officers, including an RCMP crisis negotiator, spent three hours speaking with the girl, using crisis intervention and de-escalation tactics to prevent her from harming herself.
Around 6 a.m., police apprehended the teen under the Mental Health Act. Vernon Fire Rescue Services helped bring her down from the rooftop, after which she was taken to hospital.
Thankfully, it was a good ending to an incredibly high-risk situation this morning, said Supt. Shawna Baher, Officer in Charge of the Vernon North Okanagan RCMP. “The skills, training, and experience of our officers in helping people in crisis ultimately prevented what could have been a very different outcome. It exemplifies the exceptional work and dedication we see everyday from them and other first responders in our community.
“It highlights how prevalent mental health issues are in our community and why it’s so important that we continue to advocate for additional mental health resources to be in place and readily available to support and assist frontline responders at calls such as this.”
The Vernon North Okanagan RCMP thanked Vernon Fire Rescue Services, BC Emergency Health Services, and others who assisted in bringing the incident a safe conclusion.