Is officially awarded this Certificate of Merit for her quick-thinking actions on September 28, 2023, that helped save the life of a stranger.

On the morning of September 28th, 2023, the West Vancouver Police received multiple calls from people advising that their friend and co-worker had the intention to imminently take their own life near the Trans Canada Highway over Westport Road.  While police were enroute, Sandra Smith noticed the individual in distress and stopped to try to help.  She tried to talk to the person who was sitting on the railing of the overpass with both their legs over the edge of the guard rail.  Constable Thiessen was the first police officer to attend and recognized immediately that the person was in danger of jumping from the bridge.  Cst Thiessen put his own life at risk by running across active highway lanes to get to the person more quickly.  On making initial contact with the person, Cst Thiessen began to build rapport while police resources around them made the environment as safe as possible. Cst Thiessen began to use his crisis intervention and de-escalation training and skills to engage with the person to negotiate their safe extraction from the edge of the bridge.  When it became clear that the person was disconnecting from the conversation and shifting their body to jump from the bridge, Cst Thiessen moved decisively to take physical control of the person and pull them to safety. 

Since the incident, the family, including the person whom Sandra Smith and Cst Thiessen saved, have reached out to the West Vancouver Police with gratitude.

“On September 28th, 2023, Cst Mike Thiessen saved my life… I drove to Westport overpass and planned to jump. Cst Thiessen talked with me for what seemed like an hour. I lowered my feet to the bottom ledge and went to let go and Cst Thiessen lunged and pulled me back over the ledge. I would like him to be formally recognized for saving my life along with the bystander Sandra… who stopped to help before your team could get there. It is because of both of them that my son still has his Dad.”

For her selfless assistance, Ms. Sandra Smith is hereby awarded this West Vancouver Police Board Certificate of Merit.

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