108th detective helps talk down Kosciuszko jumper

By Bill Parry

A detective from the 108th Precinct in Long Island City is being hailed as a hero after a dramatic rescue of a 45-year-old-woman who threatened to jump from the Kosciuszko Bridge Monday. NYPD Detective Meghan Kinsella, who has worked as a domestic violence officer for more than nine years, had just completed a home visit when she heard a 911 call about a suicidal female on the bridge over her police radio.

Kinsella raced to the span 150 feet above Newtown Creek, which divides Brooklyn and Queens and discovered the distraught woman standing on aelectrical conduit pipe that runs along the ledge of the bridge. The woman, who the NYPD has not identified, was holding on to a wire to help maintain her balance.

Kinsella joined ESU Detective Steven Stefanakos above the woman, who is from Brooklyn, and spent the next two hours using “crisis communications skills” and started talking to the despondent woman.

“I tried to convince her that no matter what, we would be with her every step of the way,” Kinsella said. “He would talk and I would talk. I didn’t even realize I was there for two hours. I was completely focused on her.”

At one point, the woman let go of the wire and bent her knees. Stefanakos was afraid she was about to jump.

“I told her, ‘I don’t know what is going on and what is happening with you, but give us a chance to talk to you,’” Stefanakos said. When he mentioned the possibility of her having a family or children, she grabbed the wire. At that moment the two detectives knew they had made a connection.

“I’m a mom, so I just wanted to get her home safe and with her family,” Kinsella said. At the end of the ordeal, the detectives grabbed the woman by the hand and hauled her to safety, where Kinsella hugged and kissed her.

The woman was taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center for a psychological evaluation.

“It was a fantastic job by the detective,” said Capt. John Travaglia, the commanding officer at the 108th Precinct.

“Remarkable cops doing remarkable work yesterday on the Kosciuszko Bridge epitomize the Finest,” NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton tweeted Tuesday morning. Bratton then welcomed the two hero detectives to headquarters at One Police Plaza in Manhattan.

After the meeting, Kinsella said she would stay in touch with the woman who was upset about her pending divorce.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.