Motoramic

Meet the highway patrolman who’s saved hundreds of Golden Gate jumpers

Justin Hyde
Motoramic

Since shortly after its construction in 1937, San Francisco's Golden Gate bridge has held the tragic title of the world's most popular place to commit suicide. After years of preventative measures such as crisis hotlines on the pedestrian path, 37 people still lept to their death in 2011; officials worry even talking about the tally could make it more popular. The job of trying to stop those in the act falls on the California Highway Patrol -- including Sgt. Kevin Briggs, who's credited with saving hundreds of lives. Here's how he does it.

Yahoo Screen's Viewfinder documentary series highlights the unrelenting pressure faced by those who guard the bridge, built 240 feet above the frigid waters of San Francisco Bay. Pedestrians aren't allowed on the walkways at night, and cameras monitor the span 24 hours a day, but even in the light of day troubled souls still find ways to swing over the structure, which for engineering reasons can't be fortified with even tougher measures such as nets.

Briggs and his colleagues at the CHP stop a righteous number of those in need, using only their conversational skills. It's a testament to them that they so clearly remember the few who couldn't be convinced -- and that they're always on the lookout for those who mistake the bridge for a dead end.

View Comments (6)