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NZ Police is telling the story of an officer who helped prevent a woman from committing suicide as part of a drive to recruit empathetic young women and men like him to the job.
In a new video, Constable Lio Kaihau, a police officer in West Auckland, explains how he was called out to attend to a young woman who was threatening to act on her thoughts of suicide. His role was simply to ensure she got safely to the hospital, but when the woman said she saw demons, Constable Kaihau saw an opportunity to help.
Constable Kaihau says, “When I arrived to attend to the woman, she was in a room by herself, and she was feeling very isolated. I tried to ask her name, but she just avoided me."
“I tried to strike up another conversation with her at the hospital, but she remained quiet. She was withdrawn and I knew she was in a bad place. I was persistent though. I kept asking her questions, trying to find common ground – I have this job for a reason, I joined the Police to help people,” he says.
His persistence paid off. The women explained that she saw demons crawling around her bedroom walls at night, speaking to her. Constable Kaihau drew on his background, his culture, and his values to offer whatever help he could.
“Thinking on your feet at critical moments is crucial to good policing,” he says. “I recognised that we had a shared faith, and used this to help her through this traumatic period. She asked me to pray for her, and I did. We prayed together.”
The woman said later of the incident, “Police officers are often known for locking people up, but it was Lio who unchained me from the horrible dark place.”
Mental Health Foundation chief executive Judi Clements is supportive of the initiative and says “I acknowledge the work of the police in recruiting from a diverse range of cultures, with values such as compassion and empathy, which are necessary in working with people in mental distress.”
She adds “Mental health problems are an ordinary part of the human condition. One in five people in any given year and almost half of all New Zealanders will experience some kind of mental distress in their lifetime.”
New Zealand Police is looking to attract applications from young leaders with communication skills, empathy, and problem solving abilities who want to do something extraordinary in their communities. To take the first step in becoming a cop, go to www.newcops.co.nz
Download high resolution images:
Constable Lio Kaihau - http://www.flickr.com/photos/nzpolicerecruitment/8064942635/in/photostream/
Constable Lio Kaihau with Superintendent John Tims - http://www.flickr.com/photos/nzpolicerecruitment/8064880570/in/photostream/