Franklin James Cook

Cop Helps Suicidal Woman with Heart-to-Heart Cat Chat

In Intervention on June 4, 2009 at 8:28 am

[Editor’s Note: Because this story is so poignant as well as brief, I am sharing it in its entirety. The author is Adam Bosch of the Times Herald-Record, reporting from Saugerties, NY. FJC]

A Saugerties woman loaded her rifle, ready to end her life late Friday night, but a police negotiator who knew that the woman loved cats convinced her that suicide wasn’t the answer.

Town police surrounded the home on Parr Shale Road after the woman, who has a history of mental illness, called the police station and threatened to kill herself. The woman had just been in an argument over the telephone with her daughter, who wanted to move her to an assisted-living home.

The standoff, which started at 11:30 p.m. Friday and lasted more than 2 hours, was fraught with sensitive moments. At one point, a Saugerties police dispatcher convinced the woman to put back the safety on her loaded .22-caliber rifle, but shortly after the woman became angered and hung up the phone.

Detective Bob Haberski, who knew the woman from previous calls, got her back on the phone.

“I tried to have her focus on the fact that there’s a lot to live for,” Haberski said.

What’s more, Haberski and the woman began chatting about one of her favorite topics: cats.

“I knew she loved cats, so I focused on that to redirect her emotion,” Haberski said.

After she calmed down, the woman agreed to meet Haberski face to face. Police watched through a window as the woman moved her rifle from the kitchen counter to a back bedroom.

She was taken without incident to Benedictine Hospital in Kingston for a psychiatric evaluation.The identity of the woman is being withheld because of the nature of incident.


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  1. This story brought tears to my eyes. I have a beautiful daughter, and two beautiful grand babies. My heart goes out to this lady. I have four cats that I love dearly. My son had just turned 27 yrs. old when he shot and killed himself. may 2005. part of my soul died too.I might just give up too if my daughter wanted to put me away. My prayers are with this desparate women.

  2. Kudos to the police officer who helped her!!

  3. A very touching story. We really need to get the message out to people about the long lasting pain that never goes away. The people that are hurting and think that is the only way out have No idea what it does to the ones that they leave behind.

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