The NYPD is a police force shaken by suicide. The death of an officer on Friday is the third suspected suicide in less than two weeks. Suicide is a growing problem — not just in New York — but nationwide.
The tragedy, the police commissioner said in a statement, is a part of “a mental health crisis.” He believes that law enforcement as a whole “absolutely must take action.”
Earlier this month, two other members of the department died by suicide: one was a respected chief, the other an experienced detective.
“Cops have to know that there are avenues for help, and it’s not a weakness to ask for help, it’s a strength,” said NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill on June 6.
The three deaths are part of a disturbing trend nationwide. In 2018, at least 167 officers died by suicide — 9% more than the number who died in the line of duty, according to Massachusetts nonprofit Blue Help.
According to one study, cops are 30% more likely to kill themselves than the general public.
After a string of police suicides in Chicago earlier this year, CBS News rode along with the police chaplain into Chicago’s most violent neighborhoods trying to reach out to vulnerable officers before it’s too late.
“Officers don’t want to go home and burden their spouse with the ugliness they have encountered the last eight to 10 hours,” said Chicago police chaplain Father Dan Brandt. “These officers see more evil in the course of a 10-hour tour than most people see in a lifetime.”
So far this year, 93 officers nationwide have taken their own life — already on track to exceed 2018.