BALTIMORE (WJZ) — As an officer of the Baltimore City Police, Sergeant Leslie Williams said she has seen just about it all.
”Shooting incidents, aggravated assaults, stolen autos,” Williams said.
But early Tuesday morning, something, more accurately someone, stopped outside Central District that she admits caught her by surprise.
That someone was an unidentified man with a knife to his neck.
“This morning was the first time I encountered someone wanting the police to take their life,” she recalled and was not about to let that happen.
All of it unfolding on top of what the sergeant said was already a chaotic evening.
“We had just calmed down, we had just gotten the district together and then another extremely stressful situation appeared out of nowhere,” she said.
What came next is a combination of police training and compassion for a fellow human in need.
“We deescalated the situation by emotionally becoming involved with that person, by asking, what can we do for you?” she said.
In this case, a simple gesture of good faith- offering the man a cigarette.
The act was enough to allow Williams and other officers to convince the man to hand over the knife.
“I don’t really recognize us as heroes cause we handle this, these types of incidents every day. Every day. Some more traumatic than others. so, I consider this our duty,” Williams said.
Sergeant Williams said new officers, including herself, now undergo specific training called “Critical Incident Training” to prepare for situations just like this one.