Orlando police negotiator kept her cool, talking man down from 400-foot TV tower

Negotiator Gladys Justiniano 'brought a lot of honor to our team': colleague

By Lauren Cervantes - Reporter

ORLANDO, Fla. - For nearly eight hours Wednesday, Orlando police crisis negotiator Gladys Justiniano attempted to talk down a 43-year-old man who scaled the 400-foot News 6 TV tower outside the station, not knowing if he could even hear her message. In the end, he came down safely thanks to her dedication.

Officials with the Orlando Police Department said the climber the tower will not face charges. The incident started at 11 a.m. when he breached a secure area to climb the structure.

He came down from the tower around 7:30 p.m. Wednesday and was taken to a hospital for evaluation.

Officers train for situations like this, but Wednesday's crisis was unique; the man was hundreds of feet up -- without a phone -- making it hard to know if he could even hear negotiators who were working hard to bring him down safely.

Justiniano was the negotiator throughout the situation, using a megaphone to speak to the man atop the tower in English and Spanish.

"It was very difficult to have communication because of the height of the tower," said OPD Sgt. David Baker.

There is also intense pressure that comes with a crisis negotiation.

"Everybody's listening to you; so when she was on the PA system out there, all the officers, the citizens, the news media, everybody's out there and the pressure is definitely on," Baker said.

After over 8 hours of talking, Justiniano was able to encourage the man to descend safely, and her team has been praising her for the outcome.

"As a new member of the team, she has done a fantastic job," Baker said. "She's brought a lot of honor to our team and the agency."

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