Police officer Dylan Robinson receives thank you from suicidal teenager he saved 12 years ago

A heroic police officer has been thanked 12 years later by a man who attempted to commit suicide in Northland. 

In 2009, a suicidal teenager, who has not been named for this story, was hanging over the edge of the Heritage Bypass bridge in Kerikeri on a November morning. 

He had just broken up with his first serious girlfriend, been kicked out of his flat and was extremely drunk.

The teen jumped but Sergeant Dylan Robinson grabbed him under his left armpit to save his life.

Since then, the man has turned his life around. He is married, just celebrated buying his first house and is planning to have a family. 

The Heritage Bypass bridge in Kerikeri was where Sergeant Dylan Robinson saved the teens life in 2009.
The Heritage Bypass bridge in Kerikeri was where Sergeant Dylan Robinson saved the teens life in 2009. Photo credit: Supplied/Police

In an article for the police Ten One magazine released on Tuesday, he thanked the police officer who saved his life and made all of that possible. 

"That night was a turning point in my life," the man said.

"Since then I have taken every chance and positive opportunity that's come my way. I just wanted to say thank you.

"Because Dylan was there and stopped me from hurting myself, I've had an incredible life."

Sgt Robinson recalls the dramatic proceedings that resulted in him saving the then teenager's life. 

He received a phone call from a member of the public alerting him to a boy hanging his feet over the railing and looking ready to jump down into the Waipekakoura River and the rocky riverbanks.

Sgt Robinson got to the scene and then the teen threatened to jump if the officer got any closer. 

"I managed to get closer to him during that time until I was less than two metres away," Sgt Robinson told Ten One magazine.

The boy was facing forward with only one hand hanging onto the bridge behind him, when he said, "I've had enough".

That was when Sgt Robinson burst into action. 

"I just remember thinking I had to get him back. He let go of the railings, leant forward and jumped," he said.

"It happened so quickly. My brain was telling me 'get him to safety'.

"As soon as I had him with my left hand, I reached over with my right hand and yanked him on the back of his jeans. 

"I remember pulling and pulling him and then both of us sitting on the ground on the right side of the railing. 

"It wasn't until we were sitting there that I realised I'd dislocated my shoulder. I lifted it and it clunked back in place."

The teenager was immediately taken back to the Kerikeri police station where he was assessed before being taken to Kaikohe.

The man has now turned his life around and told the police Ten One magazine that he would not have gotten out of the "pretty dark place" if Sgt Robinson didn't step in and do what he did.

"I've travelled the world, been married six years and just bought my first house," he said.

"If Dylan hadn't been there, I doubt the outcome would have been good. I've thought about him often and wanted to reach out and thank him, but I just haven't."

The man's wife pushed him to reach out and thank Sgt Robinson for his actions. 

"Talking about it with my wife she said I needed to contact Dylan. She met me when I was struggling and has seen me come through this," he said.

"I just remember feeling that someone cared - finally. He made it really obvious there were people who cared. He told me that he cared."

The man wanted all police officers to know that they make a difference in people's life, even if they're just brief encounters. 

"Police just don't know the impact they have. I can speak from experience," he said.

"Being helped by a cop when I needed it most saved my life and that moment has never left me. 

"What police do makes a difference... those brief encounters, well, they stay with you for the whole of your life. 

"It brings me to tears, joyful and grateful tears. I've been blessed with having such a fantastic life."

Where to find help and support: 

  • Shine (domestic violence) - 0508 744 633
  • Women's Refuge - 0800 733 843 (0800 REFUGE)
  • Need to Talk? - Call or text 1737
  • What's Up - 0800 WHATS UP (0800 942 8787)
  • Lifeline - 0800 543 354 or (09) 5222 999 within Auckland
  • Youthline - 0800 376 633, text 234, email talk@youthline.co.nz or online chat
  • Samaritans - 0800 726 666
  • Depression Helpline - 0800 111 757
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline - 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
  • Shakti Community Council - 0800 742 584