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Park graduate and police officer helps rescue suicidal teen

Eagan police officer Joe Moseng, a 2005 graduate of Park High School, helped to rescue a suicidal teen July 18. (Submitted photo)

The Eagan police officer who recently talked a suicidal teenager down from a highway overpass has connections to south Washington County.

Park High School graduate Joe Moseng was one of the officers who responded to a 911 call around 3 a.m. Monday, July 18. He and officer Eric Tessmer saw a female standing on a three-inch ledge on the Diffley Road overpass above Interstate 35E in Eagan. She had scaled the safety fence and stood with her back braced against it, looking out over the road.

“I had just gone through a crisis negotiation class through the FBI in April and I instantly reverted back to some of the learning I had picked up from that class,” Moseng said in an interview.

He talked. She listened. He got through.

“The first thing I wanted to do was let her know who I was and more importantly that we were there to help her,” he said. “After telling her that I asked if she would come back over the fence and join us, which thankfully, she did.”

The officers waited as the girl, 17, put one leg back over the fence. Taking no chances, Moseng grabbed hold of her leg and helped her down. Once she was safely over, she collapsed, sobbing, into his arms.

The girl’s family has since contacted the department to thank the officers for their help. She is receiving help from mental health professionals.

Since that night, Moseng said he had been watching the dashcam video of the rescue in order to learn from it.

“The things I try to keep in mind is that there is nothing I can ever say that is going to make your situation better because I’m not in your situation and I don't’ know how you feel,” he said. “All I can do is be there for you the best I can and listen to you the best I can. At the end of the day, we’re all people and we’re all in this journey of life together and it’s treating one person like another human being.”

Moseng, who also attended Oltman Middle School, said he still has friends back in the area.

“I had some good years there,” he said. “I try to get back there when I could. I was just at a wedding in St. Paul Park.”

If you or someone you know is in crisis, call the Washington County 24/7 Mental Health Crisis Line at 651-777-5222.

William Loeffler

William Loeffler is a playwright and journalist from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. He worked 15 years writing features for the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review. He has also written travel stories based on his trips to all seven continents. He and his wife, Michelle, ran the Boston Marathon in 2009. 

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