L-R: Duty Officers Toni Tranfa, Scott Williams, Beth Brooks,
John Herndon, and Jonathon Boles (kneeling)
In the early morning hours of August 16, 2005, Tallahassee Regional Communications Center (TRCC) Duty Officer Toni Tranfa received a call for assistance from the Palm Springs Police Department in California. They advised that a male subject had called them threatening suicide, advising them that he was on a main road somewhere west of Tallahassee and he planned to kill himself using a garden hose taped to his tailpipe. Duty Officer Tranfa took down all of the available information, including name, date of birth, and a cell phone number for the subject. She then alerted Lt. Mark Welch and Duty Officer Supervisor Beth Brooks before asking Duty Officers Jonathan Boles and Scott Williams to help her with the situation.
DO Boles attempted calling the phone number several times, as did DO Williams, but they were not successful. Meanwhile, Tranfa called the originating agency for an update and was able to get a phone listing for the ex-wife of the subject. The TRCC was finally able to obtain a much-needed vehicle description and some background information from the ex-wife -- the subject was despondent over their divorce; a warrant had been issued for his arrest; he was not on any type of medication; and he was possibly driving a green Dodge Spirit with a Georgia tag. All information was issued in a BOLO (Be On the Look Out) to all troopers in the area by Duty Officers John Herndon and Debbie Smith.
Next, DO Williams called Alltel, the subject's cell phone service provider, and a trace was run. It revealed that the subject's cell phone signal was bouncing off the Old Bainbridge tower. At this time, all information was given to the Leon County Sheriff's Office and the Tallahassee Police Department.
After several failed attempts to establish communication with the subject, contact was finally made by DO Williams, who spoke with him for a tense and lengthy forty-five minutes, attempting to gain the subject's trust as well as obtaining information regarding weapons in the vehicle, which included a knife and razor blades. Williams was also able to obtain information that the subject had left a local grocery store and was in a residential area somewhere close to that business. This information was relayed to the Leon County Sheriff's Office and Tallahassee Police Department. After several close calls with TPD units passing close to the subject, (he advised DO Williams that he saw the "blue and whites" driving behind him) unfortunately, communication was soon lost, possibly due to a dead cell phone battery.
Around 4:00 AM, Leon County Sheriff's Office deputies successfully located the subject who was near death from exhaust intake. He was transported and treated at a local hospital before being released to a mental health facility for observation.
Thanks to the excellent teamwork and solid work ethic from everyone involved, a man bent on self-destruction was kept from fulfilling his wishes and a life was saved!