Prevent Police Suicides

This week is National Suicide Prevention Week in the U.S. and it’s time we in law enforcement take a stand against police officer suicides.

Do you have a suicide prevention program in your agency?

Well, you no longer have an excuse for not having a program. With this new video produced by the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP), the Working Minds Program and the Carson J Spencer Foundation, and our roll call discussion guide you can create a ready made program the moment you finish reading this article.

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”
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.

This video “Breaking the Silence: Suicide Prevention in Law Enforcement” was posted on YouTube by Dr. Sally Spencer-Thomas the Executive Director of the Carson J Spencer Foundation through their work with the Working Minds suicide prevention organization, the Denver PD and Kenosha PD.

You can access the above video on YouTube here:

Download our 10 minute roll call discussion guide on law enforcement suicide prevention entitled: “Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention – Take Charge” by CLICKING HERE.

All training about suicide prevention should… be discussed while also mentioning your available mental health and treatment resources and a crisis hotline.

I recommend Safe Call Now the crisis hotline specifically for first responders at 1–206–459–3020.


Safe Call Now provides public safety employees, all emergency services personnel and their family members nationwide with a simple and confidential way to ask for help. Staffed by officers, former law enforcement officers and public safety professionals, Safe Call Now is a safe place to turn to get help from individuals who understand the demands of a law enforcement career. These trained call-takers will provide assistance and referrals for any public safety personnel and their families who are experiencing an emotional crisis or desire a need for someone to listen. Legislation was passed in 2009 which maintains confidentiality for public safety professionals nationwide when they call Safe Call Now for help. Safe Call Now is also a registered 501(c)3 non-profit organization and is not funded at the state or federal levels.

You can find out more about Safe Call Now on their website at:

CLICK HERE to download a brochure about Safe Call Now which would be suitable to pass along or post on an agency bulletin board.

You can supplement your Suicide Prevention Program with lots of other resources listed below:

Earlier this year the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) released a new resource for law enforcement on police officer suicide, with information and resources on prevention and response to the problem of law enforcement officer suicide. The resources on their website are from their symposium entitled: “Breaking the Silence: A National Symposium on Law Enforcement Officer Suicide and Mental Health” and their website is loaded with lots of downloadable and reproducible materials.

According to the IACP website: “To address the mental health stigma within law enforcement as well as the critical issue of law enforcement suicide, the International Association of Chiefs of Police, in partnership with the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, U.S. Department of Justice (COPS) hosted Breaking the Silence: A National Symposium on Law Enforcement Officer Suicide and Mental Health in July 2013. The participants at the symposium, which included the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention, law enforcement and mental health professionals, worked together to develop a national strategy to address officer mental health wellness and suicide prevention”.

You can find the IACP information here:

IACP Preventing Law Enforcement Officer Suicide

The IACP site is also loaded with lots of links to free downloads and links to other agencies that support their work in suicide prevention.

IACP suggests that “The information contained within is intended for use by professional law enforcement agencies. These materials were submitted by agencies throughout the country and reflect material designed specifically for their law enforcement population. The specific applicability to other agencies depends upon a multitude of factors”.

Check out these RESOURCES on the IACP site which are available for download:

Breaking the Silence: A National Symposium on Law Enforcement Officer Suicide and Mental Health
Developing a Suicide Prevention Program
Sample Suicide Prevention Materials​
Sample Training Materials​
Sample Presentations
Sample Funeral Protocols

Here are some resources from the Working Minds suicide prevention organization.

Suicide Prevention in the Workplace: Whose Responsibility is it? WhitePaper from WorkingMinds

How Mentally Healthy is Your Workplace? – Checklist

Suicide in the United States: A Fact Sheet

Here are some other great resources we highly recommend:

Serve & Protect website

In Harm’s Way website

A Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention Toolkit

Code 9 Officer Needs Assistance – The Documentary Film

QPR Institute
Check out the QPR for Law Enforcement website and their online training program at:

National Police Suicide Foundation

The Pain Behind the Badge

CLICK HERE to Download our 10 minute Roll Call Discussion Guide “Prescription for Law Enforcement Stress Management” to augment your training sessions.

The IACP site also includes these HELPFUL LINKS:

American Association of Suicidology

American Foundation for Suicide Prevention

Badge of Life

Brain Line Military

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Living Works

National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention

National Institute of Mental Health

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

SAVE: Suicide Awareness Voices of Education Suicide Prevention, Awareness and Support

Suicide Prevention Information

Suicidology Online: Open Access Journal

Tears of a Cop

U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs: National Center for PTSD

The IACP page also links to the IACP’s Center for Officer Safety and Wellness where you will find many more useful resources:

I encourage you to use National Suicide Awareness and Prevention Week to publicize the need for discussions about police suicides and you can also recognize World Suicide Prevention Day (September 10th) with an internal message campaign or training sessions. You might generate discussion by asking if anyone knows of any law enforcement suicides.

These would be great times for you to initiate campaigns within your agency or organization to promote information and prevention strategies to help reduce the problem of police officer suicides.

Remember The phone number for Safe Call Now is: 1-206-459-3020

Do you have police suicide prevention tips to share? Please leave your comments and suggestions in the comment box below.

Stay Safe and Stay Well!

CopsAlive is written to prompt discussions within our profession about the issues of law enforcement career survival. 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 that helps police officers and other law enforcement professionals armor themselves physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually to survive their careers in police work. To learn more 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.
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I’m John Marx, Founder of The Law Enforcement Survival Institute and the Editor of Connect with me on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. was founded to provide information and strategies to help police officers successfully survive their careers. 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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