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Sheriff's Deputy credited with saving woman's life

By NEWSChannel 2 Staff

CAZENOVIA, N.Y. (WKTV) - A Sheriff Deputy with the Madison County Sheriff's Department is being hailed a hero after saving the life a woman who almost went off the edge of a cliff.

According to the Sheriff's Department, Deputy Shawn Burbidge was the first on the scene after receiving a report of a suicidal and despondent female that had threatened to jump off the gorge at the Chittenango Falls State Park in the Town of Cazenovia late last week.

Once on scene, Deputy Burbidge located the female, who had climbed over a fence separating the sidewalk observation area of the falls from the edge of the cliff leading to the base of the falls. Burbidge and State Trooper Miles Robertson, who arrived shortly after Burbidge, began talking with the woman, but received no acknowledgement.

Burbidge, with the assistance of Trooper Robertson, tied himself off to the fence with a rope around his waist, climbed over the fence to see the woman, who was standing on the edge of the cliff, roughly 150 feet above the base of the falls. As Burbidge tried to talk to her again, the woman looked to Burbidge to acknowledge him, then turned back to the edge, beginning to lean Deputy Burbidge and K9 Kota forward. At that moment, Burbidge reached his arms around the female and held her, being pulled back up to the fence line by Robertson.

"This Office does not typically report on incidents of this type" said Madison County Sheriff Allen Riley, "However, due to the actions of Deputy Burbidge, who clearly displayed a calm and reassuring demeanor at the scene, and without regard to his own safety, placed himself at great risk in saving a life that evening." Riley continued by saying "the quick actions of both Deputy Burbidge and Trooper Robertson in saving this individual were heroic."

The subject was transported by CAVAC Ambulance to a Syracuse hospital for evaluation Burbidge, a 6 ½ year veteran of the Madison County Sheriff's Office, is also a K9 handler.

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