‘There is nothing here we can’t fix’ One cop’s braveryry has created a lifelong friendship,
It was a clear, early morning in December 2014 when Constable Arun Trevitt was called to an urgent job on Sydney Harbour Bridge. A security guard spotted a man balancing precariously on a beam on the wrong side of the bridge’s barbed-wire fence. That man was Dan Price, then a 29-year-old property executive who was minutes away from taking his own life.
Dozens of emergency services, including police negotiators, swarmed the bridge, bringing peakhour traffic to a crawl.
But it came down to Constable Trevitt, a general duties officer with just two years of experience on the beat, to convince Mr Price that life was worth living.
That moment — captured by Sunday Telegraph photographer Jeff Herbert, who just happened to be driving past on his way to work — marked the start of a unique friendship between those two men, who have shared their extraordinary story in a bid to raise awareness about suicide prevention and mental health.
The pair have become close mates since Mr Price’s suicide attempt on December 4, 2014, after reconnecting late last year.
Mr Price is now a passionate advocate for mental health awareness, travelling the world to share his story with people who face similar struggles.
In a remarkable change of circumstances, Mr Price has recently been a mate to lean on for Constable Trevitt after he responded to a horrific fatal car crash in the CBD.
In September, Constable Trevitt pulled Joseph Bagala, the sole survivor of the high-speed crash that killed three others, out of the wreckage before it went up in flames. The officers involved in Mr Bagala’s rescue, including Constable Trevitt, have been nominated for a NSW Police Commissioner’s Commendation for Bravery.
Regardless, the fatal outcome weighed heavily on Constable Trevitt. It is a trauma Mr Price has been helping him process.
Constable Trevitt doesn’t particularly enjoy talking about his life-saving feats.
He prefers to look at his actions as part of a team effort, steps that police across NSW take every day without recognition.
“I don’t see myself as any better than any other police officer that goes out every day to just have a crack to try and make a difference,” he explained in a candid interview.
The former on-call firefighter joined the cops at the age of 40, deciding a childhood ambition was worth giving a go.
“It was a big call for me at 40. I had no tertiary education, I left school in Year 10,” he said.
“To be honest, when I applied I didn’t think I was going to meet the academic criteria anyway.”
For the past five years he has been stationed at one of Sydney’s busiest stations — Day Street in the city.
When Mr Price was on the verge of taking his own life in 2014, he remembered Constable Trevitt approached him simply as a “human being” with compassion and without judgment. For half an hour, Constable Trevitt held onto Mr Price through the Harbour Bridge fence to stop him from falling or jumping.
“He talked about how his relationship with his wife had broken down, he got into some drugs and he was just fed up with everything,” Constable Trevitt said.
“I said to him ‘I am divorced myself, I know exactly where you are coming from, I know it’s hard’.
“I said ‘but there is nothing here that we can’t fix or get you help for, and we really want you to come back over’.”
Mr Price remembered feeling as though the officer had his back.
“And I didn’t think that existed. That is the sad thing about depression and suicidal ideation,” Mr Price said.
“You think you’re alone and no one cares.”
For months Mr Price had been trying to put on a brave face in front of friends, family and colleagues.
But behind closed doors, depression engulfed him. He felt ashamed. He didn’t want to live any more. Within two minutes of talking to Constable Trevitt on the bridge, Mr Price knew he had made the wrong decision.
Constable Trevitt talked him around before he was eventually rescued and taken to St Vincent’s Hospital.
As he was wheeled into the emergency department on a stretcher that morning, Mr Price turned to Constable Trevitt and said: “I’ll buy you a beer one day for saving my life”.
In late-2016, Constable Trevitt and Mr Price met up for the first time since that harrowing morning on the Harbour Bridge.
“It was a very special moment. I got to experience meeting the person that saved my life,” Mr Price said.
Last week, after forging their friendship in phone conversations, Mr Price finally bought Constable Trevitt the beer he promised, at Hotel Steyne in Manly.
Police officer Arun Trevitt with Dan Price at Darling Harbour today. Picture: Sam Ruttyn
Constable Trevitt coaxes Mr PricePi backbk insideiid theth Harbour Bridge security fence in 2014. Picture: Jeff Herbert