Crime-buster & lifesaver - Local cop pulls jumper back from brink of disaster

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A three-and-a-half year veteran of the NYPD was honored last week for saving a suicidal man from himself.

For his heroism and quick thinking, Police Officer Craig Austin was named the 61st Precinct’s “Cop of the Month” for March by members of the 61st Precinct Community Council.

Outlining the heroic save, 61st Precinct Community Affairs Sergeant Michael Doyle said that Austin, his partner Police Officer Michael Franco and Sergeant Antero Alvarado were on patrol March 12 when they were dispatched to a five-story building near the corner of Kings Highway and McDonald Avenue, where a distraught man in his 50s was threatening to jump.

The man was not only willing to throw himself off the roof, but had also tied a noose around his neck that would kill him if he survived the fall.

After calling for Emergency Services Unit to respond, Austin and Franco found a ladder and scrambled up to the roof, where Austin tried to get the jumper to talk to him.

“He was complaining about some family problems he had,” Austin recalled. “He was very upset.”

With Austin trying to get a rapport going with the jumper, Officer Franco tried to find out just what the rope was connected to.

That’s when the man decided to jump, officials said.

With a speed they didn’t know they had, Officer Franco and Sergeant Alvarado grabbed the jumper just as he was about to fall out of reach.

The jumper struggled with them, but Officer Franco and Sergeant Alvarado prevailed and pulled him back to safety as Officer Austin cut the rope wrapped around his neck.

While lauded as heroes, the cops shrugged off the save.

“We were just doing our jobs,” Austin said.

Honors could not be bestowed upon Police Officer Franco, because the Coast Guard reservist had just been activated.

“He [Franco] does not only protect the people here, but he’s helping everyone in the country by serving in the U.S. military,” Sergeant Doyle said.

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