Cal Poly officer honored for saving life of suicidal student

Officer Chad Reiley

The California State University system honored a Cal Poly police officer on Wednesday for saving the life of a suicidal student who intended to jump off the top of a parking structure on campus. 

On Nov. 10, 2016, officer Chad Reiley is a 12-year veteran of the Cal Poly police force who came to the aid of a male student. At about 10 p.m., Reiley was on patrol doing proactive checks of the two parking structures in Poly Canyon Village when he observed the student, a freshman or sophomore, on a ledge on top of a five-story structure, according to the University Police Department.

The student told Reiley he had texted goodbye to friends and that he “had nothing to live for.” After about 30 minutes of discussion, Reiley managed to convince the student into sliding back and eventually off the ledge. 

Authorities placed the student on a mental health hold. He received treatment and eventually returned to Cal Poly to continue his education.

An examination of the student’s phone showed he indeed sent text messages saying goodbye to several friends and indicated he planned to end his life.

“I’m glad I was able to get a student help when he needed it,” Reiley said.

On Wednesday, Reiley received the inaugural CSU lifesaving medal, now the fourth highest award that the university system issues. The award was created following a decision by the CSU board last August to recognize university police officers who go above and beyond the course of their normal duties.

Reiley, who has worked in law enforcement for 22 years, has held a variety of positions within the university police department, including crime prevention officer, field training officer and range master. He currently serves as a K-9 officer handling the department’s dog, Brisant. 

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