A Zion police detective was recently honored for saving the life of a 13-year-old girl who was in crisis and threatening to jump from a bridge in Zion, authorities said.
The Zion Police Department responded on December 2, 2021, to a call of a suicidal person on the pedestrian bridge of the Robert McClory Bike Path.
Officer Erik Gonzalez encountered a 13-year-old female who was in mental crisis.
The juvenile began to climb the guard rail on the bridge and intended to jump, police officials said.
It would have likely resulted in severe physical injuries or possibly death if she would have jumped.
Gonzalez acted immediately as he ran across the bridge to the girl, pulling her down from the rail as she was climbing, police officials said.
Gonzalez held her and comforted her until she was calm enough to walk on her own to the ambulance for transport to the hospital.
Gonzalez “did not hesitate, took decisive and immediate action” that prevented the child from being hurt.
On Tuesday, Zion Mayor Billy McKinney presented Detective Gonzalez with a lifesaving award for the event.
“In the case of all departmental awards, it is important to note that the officers did not do these things for glory, recognition or notoriety… they do it because they believe in helping, in protecting, and in duty,” the Zion Police Department said in a statement.
“They did not ask for recognition or thanks and while he is being recognized today, these displays of performance, courage, honor and commitment happen every day,” the department said.
The Zion Police Department said they historically have “not always done the best job” at regularly recognizing the work of their officers and that is now changing.
“While that is changing, I’m proud to say that the main reason for that is that it’s difficult at times to pick out excellence when excellence is oftentimes the normal,” the department said.
“We have an exceptional group of officers here and we appreciate each and every one of them. We ask so much of these officers and they give it, and then give even more,” the department added.