SANTA MONICA—SMPD Sergeant Austin Brown received the American Foundation For Suicide Prevention’s Hero Award on Tuesday, September 6. Earlier this year, Sgt. Brown showed his skills in a situation involving a suicidal subject holding a knife to his throat.
On March 8, 2016, a man was attempting to commit suicide in front of the Santa Monica Courthouse. Sgt. Brown acted quickly to save a life. He is a member of the department’s Crisis Negotiation Team (CNT). Sgt. Brown voluntarily adjusted his schedule to participate. He has been an active member for over 8 years. He also helped found the department’s DARE program.
The American Foundation For Suicide Prevention’s Greater Los Angeles Chapter honored Sgt. Brown on Tuesday at their office, during National Suicide Prevention Week which is held from September 5-11. The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention is dedicated to saving lives and bringing hope to those affected by suicide.
Anne Marie Ankers, AFSP Greater Los Angeles Board Chair stated that: “Today, we recognize a first responder who acted quickly during a moment of crisis, and who has shown a dedication to suicide prevention. We applaud him and hope that this encourages other first responders to learn more about what role they can play in preventing suicide.”
According to the AFSP’s website the Hero Award is given to a first-responder who has demonstrated longstanding dedication to preventing suicide through conversation, education, physical action, or by providing lifesaving aid to someone in crisis. Traute Winters, the Los Angeles Area Director of AFSP presented the award along with three of the board members.
“This is our first year where we have a suicide prevention hero award, we received 12 nominations from LA County. The AFSP’s Hero Award is given to a first responder personnel, such as paramedics, firefighters, police officers, or other emergency service workers who have demonstrated dedication to preventing suicide through conversation, education, and providing lifesaving aid to someone in crisis. We are thankful for Sgt. Brown’s actions,” said Winters.
Sgt. Brown said, “I am lucky enough to be part of the DARE program along with the CNT department. The chief and I both stand strong behind each, as it is important to the community. The CNT is such a team effort, whether it is the negotiator or the scribe, it is constantly a team effort to get the best result from the situation. I am very grateful for the award and the opportunity.”
According to the AFSP, suicide is the second leading cause of death for people ages 25-34 in California. On average, one person dies by suicide every two hours in the state. It is the 11th leading cause of death overall in California.
AFSP has local chapters in all 50 states with programs and events nationwide. To learn more about AFSP in its latest Annual Report, and join the conversation on suicide prevention by following AFSP on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube.