Maryland police officer hailed hero after stopping two suicide attempts in two months

Two lives in two months have been saved by a Maryland Natural Resources police officer.

Those two people were showing signs that they might be suicidal. FOX 5 spoke with the officer who is now being hailed a hero about his quick thinking.

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"By God’s grace I was able to act and make a difference in both of those young girls’ lives," said Officer First Class Jacob Gerczak.

It was 6:30 p.m. on a cold December night when Gerczak was on patrol, crossing the Chesapeake City Bridge.

"When I saw her leaning over the bridge, I thought something’s going on. I had a gut feeling something was going on," the officer said.

That’s when he saw a young woman, showing signs that she might be suicidal, and turned his patrol car around to help her.

"I could see she had been crying, very distraught," Gerczak said. "After talking to her for about five minutes I managed to get her away from the railing of the bridge, get her away from there, and walk her back to my patrol vehicle."

Gerczak says she quickly became emotional, thanking him for noticing her call for help.

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"After talking to her, she leaned in, she gave me a hug, and she thanked me for being there because if I hadn’t been there she had every intention of jumping from the bridge," he said. 

It’s a situation the five-year police veteran had been in before.

Just two months earlier, at the end of October, he saved another woman who had jumped off a fishing pier into the chilly waters of the Bohemia River.

"I yelled at her, tried to get her attention, wasn’t getting anywhere with her and I ended up watching her exhale water. Physically exhale water," said Gerczak. "At that point, I knew I had to get in the water. "

Without giving it a second thought, he sprinted down to the end of the pier.

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"I stripped out of my vest, my duty belt, I left my uniform and boots on. I jumped in, I swam out to her. I hooked her with my left arm and used my right arm to swim us back to the dock," he said.

He secured her to the end of a post until more help could arrive.

"I knew I had to get in the water to save her because if I did nothing she would’ve ultimately most likely drowned," he said.

Both women survived the incidents because of his quick-thinking actions.

His bravery was noticed by lawmakers, including Governor Larry Hogan who awarded him the governor’s citation.

"I’m just very grateful and very humble that being put in those positions, to act efficiently and effectively to make a positive impact to prevent them from doing something that would be absolutely devastating to them and their family," Gerczak said.


Both of the women were taken to the hospital after each incident for evaluations.

A spokesperson for the Maryland Dept. of Natural Resources says both are doing well and using mental health resources for help.