Local 700 members with the Lake County Department of Corrections heroically rescued a detainee from committing suicide at the Lake County Department of Corrections.
The incident happened at midnight on Monday, August 9th, when Lake County Corrections Officers Garrett Parsell and Matthew Bellavia were escorting a 28-year-old inmate from the recreational area of his pod back to his cell on the upper mezzanine. Released footage shows the inmate lunging over the railing when Ofc. Parsell jumps to his aid, grabbing the inmate by the ankle and then the arm. In seconds Ofc Bellavia rushed to Ofc Parsell’s aid, and the two officers pulled the inmate to safety.
“There was no time to think; it was all reactionary,” remembers Ofc. Parsell, “It was just another day on duty. I’m just glad we were able to save his life.” Officers Parsell and Bellavia don’t see themselves as heroes. “It was just the right place right time.” Ofc. Bellavia states.
“We were just helping an inmate have a second chance,” Ofc Parsell said, “I’m glad that we were able to prevent him from harming himself and able to get him the help that he needs.”
The inmate was secured according to suicide prevention protocols until he could get psychiatric treatment. Correctional Officers face many dangers, but the struggle of those with mental health issues can also take an emotional toll on these unsung law enforcement professionals. Nevertheless, we applaud Ofc. Parsell and Bellavia for performing with courage and compassion. Business Agent, Michael Tellez sums up the event, stating, “It’s great to see our members in action. Watching these two Officers’ training kick-in to save a life is just another reason why I’m proud to be their representative.”