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Office Rusich Save Jumper

Posted November 29th, 2016

WINTER HAVEN – There were some tense moments 13 stories above ground overlooking Lake Howard on Monday as a member of the Winter Haven Police Department talked a 45 year-old woman out of jumping off the ledge.

On 11-28-16 at approximately 10:14 a.m., a 9-1-1 call was received by a man who told dispatchers that his wife had called him from her apartment located at 745 Ave. A, SW (Lakeview Towers) in Winter Haven. He said she told him that she was going to jump out of her apartment window. The husband was in Lake Wales at the time.

More than ten members from the Winter Haven Police Department responded along with twelve members from the Winter Haven Fire Department to find the woman on the outside ledge of the 13th floor. Winter Haven Police Inspector Steve Rusich, who is part of the Critical Incident Negotiations Team, went upstairs along with other members from the Department in order to attempt to speak with the woman.

Once inside of the apartment directly outside of where she was standing, Inspector Rusich began speaking with her through an open window. Inspector Rusich’s extensive training and calm demeanor allowed him to get her to talk with him regarding her situation. She revealed that she was despondent because of losing her father a couple of months ago and just within the past day losing her mother. Although she began to cry uncontrollably, Inspector Rusich was able to calm her and convince her to not hurt herself. He then reached his hand out to her through the window and she reached out as well. Inspector Rusich then pulled her inside to safety.

The woman was taken to Winter Haven Hospital for medical evaluation just after noon. She was uninjured and none of the members from the Winter Haven Police Department or the Fire Department were injured during the incident.

“I am extremely proud of our officers who risk their lives daily to protect the safety and well-being of our citizens,” said Chief Charlie Bird.

Inspector Rusich began his career at the Winter Haven Police Department in September of 2002 as a Police Officer. In October 2007 he transferred to the Investigative Services Bureau as part of the Crime Suppression Unit and transferred to Detective in May 2009. In April of this year, Rusich took the position of Internal Affairs and Inspector.