Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Only about 40 percent of firefighter suicides are reported

Law enforcement peer group meets in Dothan hoping to help others

By Ken Curtis
Feb 19, 2019

A few years ago, Houston County Sheriff Donald Valenza's fellow officer took his life. Valenza often wonders if he could have done something to prevent the tragedy.

Law enforcement officers, others attend seminar in Dothan to help them cope with job stress. Photo from February 19, 2019. That prompted him to to organize seminars that help law enforcement officers cope with job related stress.

Alabama Fire Marshal's Office Investigator Jason Clifton attended his fourth seminar in Dothan Tuesday.

“It's a life changer to know you're not alone and you don't have to keep it bottled up inside because, if you keep things bottled up inside, you'll create a bomb that will explode,” Clifton said.

In 2017, more officers nationwide died from suicide than in the line of duty,” according to the website Statistics show 140 police officers and 103 firefighters committed suicide.

Making the figures more disturbing, the Firefighter Behavioral Health Alliances estimates only about 40 percent of firefighter suicides are reported.
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