A Richmond policeman stood within range of a semi-automatic weapon for an hour last March as he convinced a suicidal man not to shoot himself.
At a ceremony in Nelson yesterday, Constable Glen Lloyd-Jones received a silver merit award for putting his own life at risk in the service of others.
Tasman District commander Superintendent Richard Chambers said the suicidal man had gone to a picnic area on Rabbit Island intending to take his own life.
"This was a very real situation that could have gone horribly wrong," he said. "At any stage he could have pulled out the gun and shot Glen."
Mr Lloyd-Jones said he did not consider the risk to himself at the time, saying he simply wanted to make sure the situation was resolved in a good way.
Spending time as a community constable had helped him learn to connect with people, but Mr Lloyd-Jones said the experience was definitely outside the scope of his usual work in Richmond.
"I think it's just one of those things that gets sprung upon you. I wouldn't like it to happen again, put it that way."
Wakefield Constable Peter Cobeldick was also given the silver merit award for halting a suicide attempt, although he requested his ceremony be carried out at home in Kohatu.
The incident which sparked the award occurred at a Brightwater property last February.
Mr Chambers said Mr Cobeldick showed bravery when he smashed his way into a garage and car filled with carbon monoxide, to pull a suicidal man into fresh air.
Both Mr Cobeldick and the man were treated at Nelson Hospital afterwards.
Others to receive awards at yesterday's ceremony were: Senior Constable Steve Arnold, Senior Constable Donna Bower and Detective Alexandra York received a medal for 14 years service. Senior Constable Susan Finigan and Inspector Jenni Richardson were each given a 21-year service clasp. Senior Sergeant Stu Koefoed and Senior Constable Evan Garland were given their 28-year service clasp. Senior Constable Gerry Tonkin was given a clasp for his 35 years in the force, and retired Senior Sergeant Geoff Scott received a certificate for 40 years of service.
Detective Pat Nally was awarded the District Commander's Certificate of Commendation.
- © Fairfax NZ News
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