Video Shows Connecticut State Trooper Helping Suicidal Veteran
A gut-wrenching video of a state police officer assisting a veteran in distress has gone viral.
In the video, bodycam footage worn by a Connecticut State Trooper shows what happens the moment he walks up to a pick-up truck that was pulled over on the side of an interstate.
The Connecticut State Police posted that, on September 11, 2022, Trooper Kyle Kaelberer was on traffic enforcement duty on Interstate 84 in Tolland, Connecticut, when he saw a vehicle parked on the side of the interstate. When Kaelberer approached the vehicle and addressed the driver, the response the trooper received was a little difficult to understand, so whoever posted the video added closed captions.
"What's going on, boss?"
"What's going on, boss?", the state trooper asks as he approaches the passenger side of the vehicle. The driver lowers the passenger window and, as he does so, you can hear him sobbing.
"What's going on?", Kaelberer repeats, and the response from the driver sent chills down my spine.
"I'm on the phone with the VA hotline for suicide".
As soon as Trooper Kaelberer realized the veteran was on the phone with the Veterans Administration, his words immediately went to those of care and compassion.
"Hey, I got you man, alright?"
Trooper Kaelberer's immediate response was "Hey, I got you man, alright?", and then began a dialogue with the veteran.
"What branch you in?"
As the trooper begins to assist the driver, he strikes up a dialogue to, hopefully, keep the veteran's mind engaged on something other than the issues that are bothering him, and offers reassurance.
The trooper asks, "What branch you in?", and the driver responds, "Army".
Showing an abundance of compassion, the trooper introduces himself and continues to reassure the veteran.
"Hey, my name is Kyle. We'll help you out, alright, bud?"
"I'm here with you. I'm here with you, alright?" the trooper said as he continued to comfort the veteran.
Then Trooper Kaelberer told the veteran that he was going to call an ambulance to help him out. The veteran's next words were hard to hear.
"I can't afford that ."
The veteran told the trooper that he couldn't afford an ambulance.
It's a shame that anyone in crisis has to worry about the cost of medical help in this country - especially a veteran.
Trooper Kaelberer assures the veteran that the State of Connecticut will take care of the ambulance bill and then continues to take steps to keep the veteran safe.
"Can you step out of the car, boss?"
The trooper has the veteran (who is still audibly sobbing) get out of the vehicle to join him farther away from the interstate. As the veteran exits the truck, he offers his ID to the state trooper, as if he were in trouble.
Trooper Kaeberer responds, "It's alright, man... do you have anything on you? Do you mind if I check you?"
You may think that it's insensitive to pat down someone in distress, but I totally get it: it's for safety. The safety of the trooper and the safety of the veteran.
As the trooper pats the veteran down, he asks the veteran if had any deployments. After the veteran responded with "one", the trooper let the veteran know that he understood that it's a tough time for everyone in the veteran's position, and encourages him to relax.
"Relax, though. I'm here with you."
Again, the trooper reassures the veteran and lets him know that he is not alone in this.
Then, after the pat-down is complete, the veteran asks the trooper for something that broke my heart.
"Can I have a hug?"
The veteran wanted a hug. I'm sure the veteran needed a hug.
As the trooper moves in for the hug, the screen fades to black. I hope that Trooper Kaelberer gave that man the biggest hug ever given between men.
After watching this video, I think we'll all need a hug.
If you are contemplating suicide and need someone to talk to, help is available by simply dialing 988.
We hope that this veteran and any other veteran in crisis find the help they desperately need.
Thanks to Trooper Kyle Kaelberer and the Connecticut State Police for handling this situation with such care and compassion.