Crisis negotiation team sees increase in calls during pandemic

The team has been seeing an increase in calls since the start of the stay-at-home order.

Posted: May 5, 2020 12:21 AM
Updated: May 5, 2020 10:56 AM

EUGENE, Ore. -- A man threatened to jump off a parking garage in downtown Eugene Monday afternoon, shutting down W. 7th Avenue for more than an hour.

Eugene Police Department's crisis negotiation team responded to the incident and were able to convince the man to step away from the ledge. Though it was determined he was under the influence, this was a reminder to the community about mental health during the pandemic.

RELATED: POLICE RESPOND TO SUICIDAL MAN AT EUGENE PARKING GARAGE

Brandon Rathje, a Eugene Police officer and a member of the crisis negotiation team, said they have been seeing an increase in calls since the start of the stay-at-home order. He said it's always a tense moment walking up to someone in that state of mind.

"You try and keep it casual, try and figure out what's going on with them right then and there," Rathje said. "How they got to this situation and just be willing to have the patience to sit and listen and try to work through the problem with them."

Rathje said the Crisis Negotiation Team will likely pass the total number of calls for 2019 in the next few weeks.

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