Bristol police officer commended; may have stopped suicide

BRISTOL — The Bristol selectboard and Bristol Police Chief Kevin Gibbs commended a local officer for his actions that may have prevented a Colchester woman from taking her own life.
Gibbs penned a letter of commendation to Sgt. George “Randy” Crowe after his role in relaying information from a woman in Canada to Chittenden County police about a woman believed to be in danger of harming herself.
The incident began around 11:15 p.m. on Dec. 11, when a former Monkton resident now attending school in Quebec sent a message to the police department’s Facebook page, which officers regularly monitor.
The student wrote that she saw a post by a Vermont woman on a Facebook memorial page to Olivia Mae Scott, the Mount Abraham Union High School student who took her own life in 2013. The woman indicated she might harm herself by taking many pills. Her post was accompanied by a photograph of three prescription pill bottles.
The student said she contacted police via Facebook because she could not access 911 from Canada.
Crowe, who was on duty, saw the message and immediately began trying to locate an address for the woman. Through correspondence with the student, Crowe learned that the woman might live in Colchester and found an address for her.
He called Colchester police, who went to the address and found an intoxicated woman who told police she considered committing suicide by overdosing on morphine. Police took her to a crisis counseling center in Chittenden County.
Crowe said the entire incident transpired in about an hour, and that the woman from Colchester and student in Canada did not know each other.
In his commendation, Gibbs said that Crowe’s actions may have saved the woman’s life.
“While we may never know what might have happened had the woman not requested our assistance, or what might have happened had the message gone unnoticed for some time, it is clear you took immediate and prudent steps to ensure the safety of the distressed woman,” Gibbs wrote.
The chief added that Crowe’s conduct was consistent with the tradition of professionalism in law enforcement and embodied officers’ motto to protect and serve citizens.
Crowe said he appreciated being honored by the town, but diverted much of the praise to the student who used to live in Monkton.
“If anything, the girl from Canada deserves more credit than I do,” Crowe said. “Of all the people that saw that post on that Facebook page, she was the only one who took steps and did something about it.”
Crowe said the department’s popular Facebook page has been a resource for tips in the past, but this is the first time it helped in an incident of this magnitude.
“Had it not been for the page, who knows what the outcome could have been?” Crowe said.
Crowe was first certified as a police officer in 1991 and worked as an auxiliary trooper out of the then-Middlebury Vermont State Police barracks. He began working in Bristol as a part-time officer in 1994, and also worked for the Addison County Sheriff’s Department in the 1990s.
Crowe earned a bachelor’s degree in law enforcement from Champlain College in 1996 and in the same year was promoted to full-time patrol officer. He earned his sergeant’s chevrons in 2011.

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