Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention Update 2020

On the last day of National Suicide Prevention month it is time again for us to reevaluate our work to prevent law enforcement suicides and rededicate ourselves to the work that must be done.

This has been a busy month with lots of new information resources offered about suicide prevention for law enforcement.

What is really important is that we are starting to realize that we must think comprehensively when it comes to officer safety, wellness and suicide prevention. Most of the problems we see are just signs and symptoms of underlying problems that we have to address is many ways.

Listed at the end of this article are a variety of resources… to help you get going on employee suicide prevention.

At the Law Enforcement Survival Institute we believe that we need a RE-evolution in our law enforcement profession.

If we don’t take care of our people, we won’t be able to take care of THE PEOPLE. We have spent to many years and too much time and energy pursuing technological improvements that, while necessary, have been done at the sacrifice of our people – our precious human resources. This is a PEOPLE business, made up of people – who serve people. This is not a job that could possibly be done without healthy people.

Specifically, we believe that we are not adequately preparing our young personnel to cope with the negative stresses, traumas and tragedies that they have to endure in their jobs. We call this Blue Trauma Syndrome and that term was created to generate more discussion and ultimately more research on what it is that erodes the spirit of a law enforcement professional. We don’t believe we are doing enough to support and sustain the people who have been toiling in this job for years and years. We take better care of our vehicles than we do of our people! When we suffer, so does the work, and so do the people we serve.

As part of our work from the book Armor Your Self: How To Survive A Career In Law Enforcement we suggest six areas of emphasis as part of our System of Systems for building, supporting and maintaining comprehensive health and wellness. The Law Enforcement Survival Institute offers programs and materials to support the six areas of transformational policing. They are: Developing individual resilience; Building Tactical Resilience™; Strengthening agency support systems; Creating an organizational culture that supports wellness; Improving community health and creating positive community interactions with the police. We often say that “Flavor Of The Month” just isn’t good enough! This is REAL Life Action Planning and Change Management.

Our Consultative-Training* programs include:
Armor Your Self™ for building the foundation of personal resilience;
Building Tactical Resilience™ for the advance work to create Tactical Resilience™;
Wellness Leadership to set the standard for advancing and supporting wellness thru leadership;
Armor Your Agency™ to create and sustain the support systems that promote wellness;
True Blue Valor™ to create an organizational wellness culture thru personal courage and
LoCAL – Law Enforcement officers as Community Action Leaders who work to protect and to serve the wellness of our neighborhoods and overall community.

*consultative-training, also called solution based training, is a process that works partially well in the virtual environment created by the COVID-19 pandemic. I allows the participants to conduct self-paced work within the initiative’s overall timeline and then access group sessions from wherever they are with the Zoom virtual meetings platform.

After an initial needs assessment the participants can work individually on areas that interest them most and then are brought together to begin to focus all needs on the needs and requirements of the entire team, group, neighborhood or community.

This process allows for individual and team growth while providing tailored and customized support to everyone. Please call us at 303-940-0411or email us by CLICKING HERE to learn more.


The IACP just hosted an excellent Webinar on Comprehensive Strategies for Preventing Law Enforcement Suicide and it will soon be posted on their website under law enforcement suicide prevention at:

One excellent resource that is already available is their report on Messaging About Suicide Prevention in Law Enforcement Words matter and talking about suicide can be difficult. The way a police agency talks about suicide can have a significant impact on suicide prevention. Agencies, officers, and family members can learn how to properly talk about the topic of suicide. This resource helps encourage conversation, promote resiliency, boost help-seeking, and encourage other behaviors that will help prevent suicide. Find it here:

Try our CopsAlive Suicide Prevention page for a Free Quick and Easy Prevention Program

Create your own police suicide prevention training program in just 3 Easy Steps:
1. Download the video or show it to your roll call or staff group from your laptop.
2. Pair it with our 10 Minute Roll Call Discussion Guide “Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention – Take Charge” or the longer discussion guide produced by the Carson J Spencer Foundation.
3. Establish your plan for any interventions and post the Safe Call Now crisis hotline for first responders phone number 1–206–459–3020 around your agency.

Also visit our CopsAlive general Resources Page at: or click the tab above.

National Sheriffs Association Mental Health & Suicide Prevention
Law enforcement officers typically serve as first responders to the mental health crisis due to the lack of mental health services across the United States.
The resources provided here are intended to offer promising practices for law enforcement and allied professionals, and to promote collaborative partnerships among them, with the ultimate goal of appropriately serving individuals with mental illnesses.

Centers For Disease Control – CDC #BeThere to Help Prevent Suicide Initiative
A CDC study showed that a range of factors contribute to suicide among those with and without known mental health conditions. Everyone can help prevent suicide by knowing the warning signs and where to get help.

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs – National Center for PTSD
Suicide and PTSD – The topics discussed on this page are about the relationship between trauma, PTSD, and suicide.
And in their Rural Provider PTSD Toolkit – Suicide Risk Management

An Occupational Risk: What Every Police Agency Should Do To Prevent Suicide Among Its Officers
Published 2019

The National Police Suicide Foundation
The National Police Suicide Foundation was founded in 1997 and
was granted 501(c)3 status as a non-profit educational foundation. Donations to the
foundation are tax deductible. The foundation was created due to the increasing number
of suicides in the police profession, and it has grown to include emergency responders.

Fraternal Order of Police – FOP
Report on FOP/NBC Survey of Police Officer Mental and Behavioral Health

BJA Officer Suicide Prevention Guide “Officer Suicide: Understanding the Challenges and Developing a Plan of Action” Executive Summary

BJA OJP Police Mental Health Collaboration Toolkit

COPS Office Report on Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Programs – 11 Case Studies
Published 2019

COPS Office report on Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act: Report to Congress
Published 2019

COPS Office report on The Signs Within: Suicide Prevention Education and Awareness
Published 2018

COPS Office report on Preparing for the Unimaginable: How Chiefs Can Safeguard Officer Mental Health Before and After Mass Casualty Events
Published 2016

COPS Office report on Breaking the Silence on Law Enforcement Suicides: IACP National Symposium on Law Enforcement Officer Suicide and Mental Health
Published 2014

BJA National Officer Safety Initiatives (NOSI)
The National Officer Safety Initiatives currently address law enforcement safety in three key areas: law enforcement suicide, traffic safety, and a national public awareness and education campaign. The National Consortium on Preventing Law Enforcement Suicide, is an initiative of the National Officer Safety Initiatives Program.

The Suicide Prevention Resource Center – Law Enforcement page
The Suicide Prevention Resource Center (SPRC) is the only federally supported resource center devoted to advancing the implementation of the National Strategy for Suicide Prevention. SPRC is funded by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention – Law Enforcement Suicide

The Pain Behind the Badge
Clarke Paris retired from the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Dept. at the rank of Sergeant after 27 years of service. He is devoting his retirement to educating law enforcement, first responders and military members on dealing with PTSD and suicide.

In Harms Way
In Harms Way is a federally funded program that offers training seminars and workshops nationally on suicide prevention. This webpage offers a plethora of resources, reproducible materials, articles with varying viewpoints, statistics and opinions from which readers can form their own conclusions on the magnitude of the law enforcement suicide problem, its causes and the best approaches to finding a solution.

Blue H.E.L.P. (Honor. Educate. Lead. Prevent.)
Honoring the Service of Law Enforcement Officers Who Died by Suicide
Offering comfort and honor to the families who have lost an officer to suicide is a necessary to maintain the credibility of the thin blue line. All officers, regardless of method of death, deserve thanks; all families deserve your support.

Care of Police Suicide Survivors COPSS
Founded by Janice McCarthy and Daughter Shannon
C.O.P.S.S. is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide CARE and SUPPORT for Law Enforcement Suicide Survivors and Suicide Prevention Training for Law Enforcement.

Survivors of Blue Suicide (SBS) Foundation
Survivors of Blue Suicide (SBS) mission is: Fostering hope by uniting survivors of law enforcement suicide to support one another and honor our fallen heroes.
Started by National C.O.P.S. Concerns of Police Survivors

Webinar: Words Matter: How to Safely Communicate About Suicide
Did you know that sometimes the very messages used to promote awareness can cause harm and undermine suicide prevention efforts? Fortunately, there is a safe way to talk about suicide. Public safety professionals of all ranks and positions can learn to convey messages of hope and resiliency and promote positive, help-seeking behaviors. This webinar, brought to you by the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention and Lexipol

National Sheriffs Association Mental Health & Suicide Prevention
Law enforcement officers typically serve as first responders to the mental health crisis due to the lack of mental health services across the United States.
The resources provided here are intended to offer promising practices for law enforcement and allied professionals, and to promote collaborative partnerships among them, with the ultimate goal of appropriately serving individuals with mental illnesses.

Man Therapy™: An Innovative Approach to Suicide Prevention for Working Aged Men

National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention Workplace Taskforce has a First Responder/Public Safety Subcommittee

Links to the Organizations who Sponsored the IACP Webinar on Comprehensive Strategies for Preventing Law Enforcement Suicide:

Sponsored by IACP, BJA, NOSI, EDC, The National Action Alliance

International Association of Chiefs of Police at:

Bureau of Justice Assistance U.S. Department of Justice Office of Justice Programs at:

National Officer Safety Initiatives of BJA at:

Education Development Center – Learning Transforms Lives at:

The National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention at:

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© Copyright 2020 – The Law Enforcement Survival Institute, LLC and – All Rights Reserved

CopsAlive is written to prompt discussions within our profession about the issues of law enforcement career survival, health and wellness. We invite you to share your opinions, ask questions and suggest topics for us in the Comment Box that is at the bottom of this article.

At The Law Enforcement Survival Institute (LESI) we train law enforcement officers to cope with stress and manage all the toxic effects and hidden dangers of a career in law enforcement.

Our “Armor Your Self™: How to Survive a Career in Law Enforcement” on-site training program is an eight hour, hands-on, “How to” seminar based upon John Marx’ book of the same name. This seminar helps police officers and other law enforcement professionals armor themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to build Tactical Resilience™ and survive their careers in police work. To learn more CLICK HERE. To learn about and buy the book CLICK HERE.

The concept of “True Blue Valor™” is where one law enforcement officer has to muster the courage to confront a peer who is slipping both professionally and personally and endangering themselves, their peers and the public. It takes a system of organizational support and professional leadership to support and foster the concept of courage and intervention. We will train your trainers to deliver this program to your agency.
To learn more CLICK HERE

Our “Armor Your Agency™: How to Create a Healthy and Supportive Law Enforcement Agency” Program includes critical strategies that you will need to build a system of support and encouragement for a healthy and productive agency. To learn more CLICK HERE

CLICK HERE to read more about The Law Enforcement Survival Institute.

CLICK HERE if you would like to contact us to learn more about training for your organization.

I’m John Marx, Founder of The Law Enforcement Survival Institute and the Editor of Connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn Twitter. and Instagram. was founded to provide information and strategies to help police officers successfully survive their careers and improve their heathy, wellness and effectiveness. We help law enforcement officers and their agencies prepare for the risks that threaten their existence. Thank you for reading!

About Editor

John Marx was a Police Officer for twenty-three years and served as a Hostage Negotiator for nineteen of those years. He worked as a patrol officer, media liaison officer, crime prevention officer and burglary detective. Also during his career he served as administrator of his city's Community Oriented Governance initiative through the police department's Community Policing project. Today John combines his skills to consult with businesses about improving both their security and their customer service programs. John retired from law enforcement in 2002. When one of his friends, also a former police officer, committed suicide at age 38, John was devastated and began researching the problems that stress creates for police officers. He decided he needed to do something to help change those problems and he wanted to give something back to the profession that gave him so much. He started a project that has evolved into Put simply, the mission of CopsAlive is to save the lives of those who save lives! gathers information, strategies and tools to help law enforcement professionals plan for happy, healthy and successful careers, relationships and lives.
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