iStock/Thinkstock(SAN FRANCISCO) — Five more bridge patrol officers will be assigned to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge to help prevent suicide attempts.
The bridge currently has 31 uniformed personnel, including 17 patrol officers. The decision to add five more patrol officers was made Friday in a unanimous vote by the Golden Gate Bridge Board of Directors.
The officers, who work shifts around the clock, are beneficial because they work on building a relationship with the individual in crisis, such as asking about one’s family and friends, said Priya Clemens, public information manager for the Golden Gate Bridge.
“The addition of five new officers will allow us to increase our monitoring of the bridge and help save troubled visitors from harming themselves here,” Clemens told ABC News.
The decision is the latest effort to help curb suicide attempts on the bridge. In 2014, the bridge board unanimously decided to build a suicide barrier that is expected to be completed by 2020.
Last year, there were 33 confirmed suicides and 153 successful interventions on the bridge, officials said.
From Jan. 1 through Sept. 30 of this year, there have been 26 confirmed suicides and 138 successful suicide interventions, officials said.
Bridge officials said over the years the average number of successful interventions has increased considerably. Between 2000 and 2005, the average number of successful interventions each year was 52; between 2006 and 2010, the average yearly number was 73.
Bridge officials attribute the decrease in suicides to the greater presence of patrol officers.
Clemens said the decision to add five more officers was based on both need and budgetary restrictions. These officers still need to be recruited and hired, Clemens said.
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