A Cal Poly police officer received an award from the California State University Board of Trustees on Wednesday for saving a suicidal student’s life in 2016.
Officer Chad Reiley received the inaugural CSU lifesaving medal, which was created to recognize university police officers whose actions “go above and beyond the course of normal duties,” according to a Cal Poly news release.
Reiley was performing routine checks of the two parking structures in the Poly Canyon Village area at about 10 p.m. on Nov. 10, 2016, when he saw a male student on the top ledge of the five-story Village Drive parking structure, according to the release.
The student, who was either a freshman or a sophomore, told the officer he had texted goodbye to his friends and said he had nothing to live for, the release said.
Reiley talked with the student for about a half-hour until the officer convinced him to step away from the edge, the university said. The student was placed on a mental health hold, received treatment and eventually returned to Cal Poly.
“It was Officer Reiley’s proactive patrols and observation skills that allowed him to see the student on the ledge and his communication skills that allowed him to stop the student from committing suicide and obtain the needed support services that allowed him to continue his degree path, ultimately saving his life,” deputy police hief Brenda Trobaugh said in the release.
On Wednesday, California State University Chancellor Timothy P. White presented Reiley with the medal, along with a certificate, the university said.
“The CSU is remarkably fortunate to have compassionate and courageous men and women serving in peace-keeping roles across all our campuses,” White said in the release. “In addition to their own acts of courage, they represent the strength and commitment of all their coworkers within the university’s police department.”
Reiley has served the Cal Poly University Police Department for 12 years, working as a crime prevention officer, field training officer, range master and K-9 officer, the release said. He’s spent a total of 22 years in law enforcement.