AFD and UMPD on scene UMass Lederle Tower early last night
The one call I hate to hear is what is known as a Q5, public safety code for suicide. Oftentimes with a kind of tension in the voice of the first responder that you do not normally hear for all the other emergencies they deal with on a day-to-day basis.
Last night around 7:20 pm a father called UMass Dispatch (which is not affiliated with the town of Amherst Dispatch) to report his son had just threatened to jump from Lederle Tower. Considering he was in the Tower at the time of the call, a threat to be taken quite seriously.
Immediately a bevy of UMPD officers responded, found him pretty much within minutes, and called AFD for a "section 12" (psyche evaluation) transport to the Cooley Dickinson Hospital.
His parents, who live in a nearby town (suburb of Springfield), headed there as well. Hopefully a happy ending. Or at the very least, certainly not the sorrowful ending that could easily have resulted.
In other words, the system worked.
But I wonder and worry what would have happened had this harrowing call come in later in the night (or early in the morning), on those special days in a college town when rowdyism gets completely out of control?
When all our ambulances are tied up carting drunk students to CDH, and police -- both UMPD and APD -- are dealing with alcohol fueled mayhem, pushing response times to over an hour?
In other words, next time the system may not work quite so well.