Police Suicide is an International Problem

We’ve mentioned this before but as I have been watching the news lately there seems to be a preponderance of evidence to support this claim and I wanted to share some of the links with you.  To begin with you will find an excellent article in yesterday’s Boston Globe Sunday Magazine that has an excellent perspective on the issues.  CLICK HERE to read their article.  Forgive the links showing below but I wanted you to see where they are coming from.

Switzerland – January 26, 2010 – Police chief found dead on eve of Davos meeting

Taiwan – A policeman shot himself to death early January 23, 2010 at the Hsinsheng South Road police substation of the Daan Precinct in Taipei, marking Taiwan’s second police shooting suicide in 10 days.

Philadelphia – January 25, 2010 Police in Philadelphia say an off-duty officer who died following a crash earlier in the week apparently killed himself.

India – December 22, 2009 ‘Harassed’ by senior, cop commits suicide. A sub-inspector with the… Bauria police station, Howrah, committed suicide by hanging himself from the ceiling of his room at the Bauria police quarters on Sunday night.

Police Recruit takes is own life in India – November 13, 2009 – A Lok rakshak under training at the Police Training Academy committed suicide by jumping into the Narmada Canal at Karai on Thursday. Police said that his suicide note states that he ended his life as he had acute health problems.

West Virginia – November 9, 2009 – The state police and behavioral health groups are hosting a conference in Charleston about depression and suicide among police officers.  In the past two years, three West Virginia State Troopers have taken their own lives.

California – November 5, 2009 – BURBANK, Calif. — The family of a Burbank police sergeant who took his own life last week blamed the police chief and other city officials for his death, saying he was the victim of retaliation for defending fellow officers.

Canada – October 26, 2009 – Police chaplains help officers face terrible times.

New York – August 19, 2009 – Cattaraugus County Sheriff Dennis John committed suicide Tuesday by shooting himself in the head, State Police said.

Jamaica – August 11, 2009 – The Portland Jamaica police are trying to determine whether a District Constable in the parish killed himself.  He’s Nevile Afflick, 59, who was assigned to the Manchionel Police Station.

Rate of suicide among corrections officers higher than police. August 9, 2009 – When police union president Anthony Wieners learned on Monday that Essex County corrections officer Kelley McKenith had shot and killed her 4-month-old baby before taking her own life, he was horrified. But as a driving force behind preventing law- enforcement suicide in New Jersey, he’s seen such tragedies before.

Ireland – July 27,2009 – An investigation into the suicide of a retired Irish police officer who shot himself with an Uzi sub-machine gun will focus on how the former detective was able to access firearms in a garda station.
Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/gun-access-queried-in-irish-police-suicide-case-14432879.html#ixzz0dfOz6ZSV

July 16, 2009 – Many mental health experts try to help police
Ex-officers, widow among those running support groups

It is very clear that the suicide of police officers in a major and international crisis.  The question is what are we as a profession going to do about it?  What can you do about it? and What can our law enforcement agencies do about it?  This doesn’t mean we need to minimize line of duty deaths but rather do some basic threat assessment and acknowledge that many more officers take their own lives than those that are killed in the line of duty.  This is a police issue and we as policing professionals need to deal with this ourselves.

Here are a couple of articles we have done in the past on CopsAlive.com on this subject and the subject of wellness that offer concrete suggestions and resources that will help you.

CLICK HERE for our suggestions on “Ten Tips Toward Total Wellness for Police Officers”

CLICK HERE four our article entitled: “Beyond Officer Survival What’s Your Plan?”

Good luck and Stay Safe!

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 CopsAlive.com. Put simply, the mission of CopsAlive is to save the lives of those who save lives! CopsAlive.com gathers information, strategies and tools to help law enforcement professionals plan for happy, healthy and successful careers, relationships and lives.
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