Calaveras County Sheriff’s Deputy Jason Markovitz was presented with a Life-Saving Award from the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office at a meeting of the Calaveras County Board of Supervisors on March 23 for his role in saving a man who attempted to jump from Parrotts Ferry Bridge on Feb. 8.
Markovitz received the award, along with Corporal Andrew Long of the Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office, at a Tuolumne County Board of Supervisors meeting on March 16, but was unable to attend the ceremony in person after being called to court.
Tuolumne County Sheriff Bill Pooley detailed the events of Feb. 8 at the meeting. In the early morning hours, law enforcement was called to the area of the Parrotts Ferry Bridge after receiving a report of a suicidal subject.
The Tuolumne County Sheriff’s Office, Calaveras County Sheriff’s Office, California Highway Patrol and Angels Camp Police Department worked together to search for the individual.
After hours of searching, Long located the subject on Parrotts Ferry Bridge and began to negotiate with him.
“The individual then very suddenly jumped off the bridge,” Pooley said during the meeting. “Long was able to grasp the gentleman’s arm and hold onto him until Deputy Jason Markovitz showed up and assisted. … They were able to hold onto him until search and rescue teams were able to get a rope around the gentleman and pull him back up.”
Pooley presented the award to Markovitz, who was asked to say a few words.
“I was just doing my job,” Markovitz said. “In law enforcement, there are just so many aspects. One minute, you could be arresting someone, and then the next minute you could be saving someone. It’s a phenomenal career, and I was just happy I could be a part of it and help in saving this man’s life.”
Pooley said the sheriff’s office received more press on the incident “than you would believe.”
“The picture’s worth a thousand words,” he said, referencing the photo of Long and Markovitz holding the man by the arm from Parrotts Ferry Bridge. “One of the large network anchors in New York said, ‘This is the picture movies are made out of.’”
Board Chair Ben Stopper thanked Markovitz for his actions.
“Being able to make that snap decision, and what you did, that states that you’re in the right place and the right career,” he said. “Thank you very much.”
Calaveras County Sheriff Rick DiBasilio said that, though sheriff’s offices and police departments have received a lot of “bad rap” in recent years, the incident highlights that law enforcement is there to help the community.
“This shows that the men and women of law enforcement as a whole do the right thing as much as they possibly can,” he said. “My hat goes off to folks in our department, and the folks in Tuolumne County’s department, for being able to work together, and this was obviously a joint effort. We work very well together and we have for many years, and we will continue to do so. Law enforcement as a whole is out there to help people, and this is just a prime example of how we’re here to help.”