Berks County police chief honored for saving distraught teen in UK

FLEETWOOD, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Fleetwood Police Chief Steven Stinsky was honored this weekend for jumping into action when he saw a deeply concerning message on the department's Facebook page.

The message was from a 16-year-old who said he was planning to end his life.

Stinsky started engaging with the distraught teenager via instant messaging when he quickly realized the young man was not from Fleetwood, Pennsylvania.

"You know, referring to his apartment as a flat, talking about his job as a tram car driver. I was able to determine he was calling from the United Kingdom rather than somewhere here in Berks County," he said.

The teen thought his plea for help was going to his local department in Fleetwood, England.

Regardless, Stinsky, along with other officers from his staff, went into overdrive trying to contact the authorities from that part of the UK, while trying to calmly convince the teen that life is worth living while getting him to reveal his location.

Three hours later, constables from Lancashire were able to find the 16-year-old before he hurt himself.

This weekend, Stinsky was awarded the Chief Constable's Commendation, the highest law enforcement honor in the UK.

Lancashire Chief Inspector Gary Crowe said this case serves as an example of how the oath to serve and protect knows no borders.

"Someone who is in crisis, someone who is vulnerable and has nowhere else to turn, even though they're in the UK, we're able to reach out to a US police officer and they still did the right thing," Crowe said.

Meanwhile, Stinsky said that while he is honored to receive the award, his actions are merely a reflection of what law enforcement officers are trained to do.

"What I can tell you, it does feel good, and it really goes to show how police, not just here in America, but across the world, really are trying to do the right thing every day," Stinsky said.
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