SAN FRANCISCO—On Wednesday June 10, 2015, California Highway Patrol Officer Ricardo Jimenez was presented the CHP Meritorious Achievement Award by Chief Paul Fontana of the Golden Gate Division.
Officer Jimenez was awarded for his act of rescue and bravery that took place on September 24th, 2014. On that day, Jimenez received a dispatch to a traffic collision that had occurred on the San Francisco–Oakland Bay Bridge. When he arrived, he noticed a male standing on outside railings of the bridge. As he immediately began to worry, he tried talking to the man, only to realize that he was seemingly under the influence of a controlled substance, possibly a hallucinogen.
During the conversation, the male subject would close and open his eyes while tilting his head back and forth, signaling that he may pass out and fall off of the railing. It also became obvious to all bystanders and officers on the scene that the male subject was not willing to return to safety.
Officer Jimenez realized that there was no time to call backup or the Fire Department for rescue service, so he took the situation with bravery and decided to save the subject on his own. Firefighters that were already on the scene recognized the urgency of the situation and decided to support Jimenez with a rope looped around his torso.
While rescue preparation was taking place, the man lost his footing and began to fall backwards. To fight his weight, he leaned forward to regain his balance. Officer Jimenez immediately seized the opportunity, lunged forwards, and grabbed the subject in a “bear hug.”
Resisting, the man attempted to break free by twisting his body and physically throwing punches at Officer Jimenez’s head. After a short struggle, Officer Jimenez, with the help of other California Highway Patrol Officers and firefighters, managed to pull the man back over the railing to safety. When he was pulled back over the railing, he continued to fight and resist until he was constrained and taken into custody.
Officer Jimenez suffered minor abrasions and swelling to his face from the physical blows.
Captain Christopher Sherry, San Francisco Area Commander, gave the following public statement on the situation:
“I am very proud of Officer Ricardo Jimenez. His bravery and willingness to risk his life for another human being is commendable. Officer Jimenez lived up to his sworn oath as a public protector that afternoon. The danger was very real, yet Officer Jimenez selflessly jumped into action and in doing so placed himself in harm’s way to save a life. He is a true hero.”