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Transit Police

Right-place-right-time is routine, not heroic for these MTPD officers

Posted by Drew Kerr | Friday, March 18, 2022 8:53:00 AM

Officers who helped save a man in crisis and threatening to jump from the parking ramp behind them include, from left to right: Sgt. Debra Wohlferd, Ofc. Jason Newkirk, Ofc. Sarah Boltz and Ofc. Sidney Jones.

Officer Jason Newkirk was on routine patrol at the Lake Street Station when someone came running to him, yelling about a man who’d been removed from the tracks and needed help.   

Trains stopped, paramedics arrived, and the man was placed in an ambulance. But that wasn’t the end of the story.    

On his way to a nearby hospital, the man escaped, ran into oncoming traffic and to the edge of a parking ramp, a 30-foot drop just inches away.    

Newkirk, who’d been following the ambulance in his squad car, calmly approached the man as other Metro Transit and Minneapolis officers began to arrive. “I’m not going to do anything to you,” he said, his hands up and opened. “I just want to talk to you.”   

As the man held on by his fingertips, Newkirk and other officers rushed to him, pulled him from the ledge and put him back in an ambulance. 

Among those who witnessed Newkirk’s response was Metro Transit Sgt. Deb Wohlferd. “It wasn’t even what (Newkirk) was saying,” she recalled. “I don’t even know if the man was hearing the words. It was the tone, the calm and caring demeanor that kept that man alive.”   

Newkirk doesn’t go that far, instead saying he and other responding officers “were in the right place at the right time,” and did what they were trained to do.   

“I’m glad we were there, but people save lives every day,” Newkirk said. “Maybe by even saying or doing something nice for someone. They may not know they are doing it, but they do it every day.”   

Still, Wohlferd is proud of the actions by the responding officers. “We’re a family," she said, "and there is nothing better than watching your family members excel and succeed."  

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