Officer's compassion keeps man from jumping off bridge

Off-duty officer saves man on Sunshine Skyway

Named the Sunshine Skyway Bridge, it can be a dark place for some. Outside of California, more suicides happen there than any other bridge.

This afternoon, a man was on the ledge between life and death. Standing near the peak, over 190 feet above Tampa Bay.

An off-duty St. Petersburg Police officer happened to be driving southbound over the bridge and called it in.

Officer Cedric Doss, a 25-year veteran of the force and member of the negotiation team for the past two years, was doing extra duty at Dell Holmes Park in South St. Petersburg. He immediately rushed to the bridge and was the first to arrive.

"Sometimes all they need is someone to listen to them," Doss said.

A step away from oblivion, FDOT traffic cameras showed the man standing on the concrete guard rail, holding onto a sign post. But it was Doss that really held him on the bridge.

"I always believed I was going to get him down," Doss said.

That confidence though not coming from experience. This was Doss' first one-on-one negotiation.

"Very satisfying to see him give us a chance to actually talk to him in and work out his problems," Doss said.

After about an hour, the man stepped back from the brink and onto the bridge. He was taken into custody for mental help.

"I really want to help folks who may not see another way," Doss said.

Which is why today, he was a bridge between life and death.


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