Police Superintendent UNDER FIRE After Another Suicide
(FeaturedNews.com) – For the third time in under a month, the Chicago Police Department (CPD) is mourning the loss of an officer who took their own life. The latest casualty was off duty when he was found in a Woodlawn home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound. He died at the hospital shortly thereafter, and a press conference about the loss sparked a controversy about the department’s policies and the mental health of its cops.
CPD Superintendent David Brown holds a weekly press conference. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that after sharing kind words for the family of the latest victim of police suicide, the leader came under fire for his department’s policy on canceling days off, which some speculate may have an impact on the overall mental state of an officer.
The outlet reported that John Catanzara, president of Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, called the top cop a liar, saying four city council members have called for hearings to see if there’s any merit to the claim that cops are overworked. The entire city seems noticeably shaken by the incident, which marks the 20th time a sworn officer has ended their own life since 2018.
Not Just A Chicago Problem
A May 2021 study published by the International Association of Chiefs of Police showed that nationally, more policemen die by suicide than by felonious encounters or accidents while on duty. The Chicago City Council taking an interest in how to prevent the problem from worsening is a solid start for the city, which already has a system in place to support proper mental health care within the department. They also offer help to family members affected by the loss or just the stress of being a cop’s kin.
Not all departments fare that well, however. According to an April 2018 report from the Ruderman Family Foundation, only 3% to 5% of departments across the country have adequate support systems in place for the struggling men and women in blue. The paper determined that as a whole, the general population suffers suicide at a rate of 13 per 100,000 people, while police take their lives more often, at 17 per 100,000.
Help is Available
Police officers who find themselves struggling can use a peer support system called Blue H.E.L.P., which stands for “honor, educate, learn, prevent.” The group’s website offers resources for the public servants and their families, including an outlet to speak with retired officers who have been in a similar situation. The organization is dedicated to removing the mental health stigma from departments across the nation so police can live happier, healthier lives.
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