(DOUG JESSOP’S JESSOP’S JOURNAL – ABC4 NEWS – SALT LAKE CITY, UT) I first met Sargent Spencer Cannon while doing a news story about him donating a kidney to one of his neighbors. It shouldn’t matter, but it was kind of a big deal that a white police officer that donated a kidney to his neighbor that just happened to be a black man. It was interesting to find out that both of these men had served in the military in Germany at the same. They didn’t know each other then, but they certainly do now.
It’s clear that Spencer Cannon and his wife, Michelle, care about their community. Spencer is with the Utah County Sherriff’s Department. Michelle is a Nurse that passes plenty of hospitals on her drive from Utah County up to her job at the VA Hospital in Salt Lake City.
We talked about Spencer’s thoughts on the role of police in the community. In this Jessop’s Journal interview there was also a very open discussion about the civil unrest that sometimes is because of the misbehavior of some police officers. You’ll have to watch the entire interview to get the details.
The biggest takeaway from my extended interview with Sargent Cannon is his passion and empathy to help people. Even when people may be in a very stressful period in their life. The pandemic that we are experiencing doesn’t make life any easier.
From 2010 to 2019, the Utah County Sherriff’s Department investigated an average of twelve suicides. 2020 was a different story.
Sargent Spencer Cannon talked with me about the startling statistics; “In 2020 we investigated 32 suicides. The magnitude of that tragedy can’t be overstated. We haven’t done a scientific study on the numbers I just sighted but you have to think from going from 12 per year to 32 in one year is significant. And it certainly has to be connected somehow to the pandemic that we are all enduring.”
What can be done? Sargent Cannon has some good advice.
“One of the things that people are afraid to do is when they see somebody who says something, they say oh they aren’t serious, they’re just joking. They wouldn’t really do that. I’ve known this person for years. They would never do that. But if you suspect something, ask people. You’d be amazed as how disarming it is to ask a person, “are you considering hurting yourself.” Look them in the eye and ask them. When I have done that myself with people that seemed emotional or upset about something. And I ask them “are you considering hurting yourself? Do you have a plan? Have you made plans to do this? Do you have a method that you are thinking about to take this action?” You can almost see the weight come off their shoulders in almost all situations because they realize that somebody understands what you are going through, or at least wants to understand what you are going through and do something to help.”
If you, or someone you know is thinking about suicide go to LiveOnUtah.org or call the Utah Crisis Hotline 1-800-273-TALK (8255)
Spencer’s closing statement was haunting; “It’s been a real tragedy to see that many people who have thought they had no other option.”
Jessop’s Journal is something special when it comes to broadcast news. I have the honor of being able to do longer in-depth interviews that you don’t normally see with people from all walks of life. Consider this your personal invitation to watch this entire episode of Jessop’s Journal and share it with someone that you care about.
I strongly feel that “stories have power”. Chances are that if you are going through something, that someone else probably has as well. The shared experiences we humans have can help each other. That my friend makes the point that stories “help us understand each other.”
You don’t have to agree with everyone, but in my opinion, if people would take more time getting to knowing more about others and where they are coming from, we just might find out that we have more similarities than differences.
You can also see my positive business profiles called “Utah Success Stories” every Sunday in the ABC4 News at 10 p.m. or online at www.ABC4.com/Success
With another entry into Jessop’s Journal, I’m Doug Jessop, ABC4 News.