INDIANAPOLIS — The Indiana State Police (ISP) recently handed out honors to several troopers who went above and beyond for their communities in 2023. Among those troopers was Hancock County Commissioner Bill Spalding, who is also a sergeant with the ISP.

Spalding was awarded a “Silver Star” after officials say he saved the life of a woman on Aug. 5 2023.

According to reports, officials with ISP Region 5 Dispatch were notified of a female at the 99.2 mile-marker of I-65 in Greenwood standing on the edge of an overpass. Several troopers and local officers responded to the area and began talking with the female. The female, officials noted in a release, had climbed onto the barrier wall of the overpass and expressed that she was suicidal.

Sergeant Spalding arrived on scene and spoke with the female for approximately 25 minutes, officials said. While talking with the female, she laid on the ledge and began lowering herself over the edge. The female ultimately released her grip from the overpass in an attempt to take her own life. Sergeant Spalding immediately, and without regard for his own safety, extended himself over the barrier wall of the overpass and grabbed the female’s arms, holding on to her.

While officials noted the female violently flailed and kicked, attempting to work herself free from Sergeant Spalding’s grip, Sergeant Spalding continued to hold onto the female until additional officers assisted him with pulling her back up over the barrier wall and onto the overpass. The female, once safe, was transported to a local hospital where she was evaluated.

Spalding told the Daily Reporter he’s spoken with other people in that same kind of situation where a person wanted to take their own life, but had never actually had to grab someone to keep them from falling to their death. Spalding credited his training for helping him know what to do in that kind of situation.

“We’re supposed to protect and preserve human life,” Spalding said. “There are certain things you do innately, but you’re also trained and that training takes over so that’s what happened. It just came to a point where we felt like she was going to try and take her life so we had to act.”

Spalding noted after taking the woman to get checked out, he never heard what happened to her. However, he is thankful he was able to save her that day and so are ISP officials.

“Sergeant Spalding’s actions involved self-sacrifice at a level clearly beyond expectations,” officials from the ISP said in a release. “These actions and dedication to duty are in keeping with the ­best traditions of law enforcement and reflect great credit upon himself and the Indiana State Police.”