Saturday, April 6, 2019

For Police Officers overdue first step is #BreakTheSilence

How is it that for people in a profession that demands they ask questions all the time, find it so hard to ask other officers if they need backup?

Talking openly about police suicide is an important and long-overdue first step

The Washington Post
By Karen Tumulty
April 4, 2019

“There’s already enough tragedy in what we do.” Bringing it out of the shadows is an important first step, long overdue, and one that could help save the lives of those in whom we trust our own." 

This week, there was an extraordinary gathering in an auditorium on the ground floor of the New York Police Department headquarters in Lower Manhattan. In that one room sat more than 300 police chiefs and other law enforcement officials from across the country and as far away as Australia and Northern Ireland.

They were there to discuss a leading cop killer: suicide. For eight hours, they took a raw and honest look at both the forces that drive officers to this most desperate of acts and the dilemmas they face in dealing with it.

“We do so much for everybody else. Very rarely do we talk about ourselves,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said. “Nobody wants to take a step forward. Nobody wants to be branded, and we have to get past that.”

Suicide is a long-standing problem in police work, claiming more first responders each year than the number who die in the line of duty. University at Buffalo epidemiology professor John Violanti, a former New York state trooper who has studied the problem for decades, says the latest numbers collected by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention indicate the risk of suicide for police officers could be 54 percent higher than it is for the population at large.

But Fairfax Police Chief Edwin C. Roessler Jr. realized that he would have to do more than that, something that took courage. He began sharing with his officers his own struggles with post-traumatic stress disorder. “It’s okay to not be okay. I, the chief, seek help. I see a doctor once or twice a month to keep myself well,” he told me.
Riccio choked up as he told of a female officer who showed up for roll call, then went out to her patrol car to take her life.

North Miami just experienced its first officer suicide in three decades.
read more here

#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife

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