Marshfield, WI (OnFocus) Shortly after midnight on Wednesday, Marshfield Police Department received a call from Canadian National Railway (CN) that a male was on the tracks.
Officers responded to the call and received information that a 19 year-old male from Marshfield was threatening suicide and possibly armed. Railroad traffic was stopped, a routine call when someone is on the tracks. Officers made contact with the male, who had positioned himself on the tracks near Veterans Parkway and S. Oak Ave.
The Wood County Sheriff’s Department and Marshfield ambulance also responded. A certified drone pilot responded to a request to use thermal imaging to help monitor the subject and allow officers an aerial perspective to inform its response.
“We didn’t know if he was armed,” said Lt. Jody Guerink. “We didn’t want to expose our officers, or to maybe push him into doing more aggressive acts. The drone helps us keep a safe distance while also containing him and knowing where he’s at.”
The male was peacefully taken into custody shortly before 2 a.m. and transported to Wood County Jail on a probation hold.
“At times that is the safety plan until he can see a mental health professional,” said Guerink.
The subject’s weapon was found to be a facsimile firearm. There will likely be a request for charges of Disorderly Conduct.
The Marshfield Police Department is currently in the selection process for its own drone with thermal imaging, which can then be used in similar calls.