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For Third Straight Year, Police Suicides Outnumber Line-Of-Duty Deaths

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The estimated variety of regulation enforcement officers who died by suicide outnumbered those that died within the line of responsibility for the third straight yr in 2018, a newly launched examine reveals.

Blue H.E.L.P., a Massachusetts-based nonprofit run by energetic and retired law enforcement officials, medical professionals and victims’ households, compiled and launched the grim knowledge this week.

In line with the group, a minimum of 159 officers took their very own lives in 2018 — the identical variety of suicide fatalities it tracked in 2017 and 19 greater than in 2016.

Against this, the estimated variety of regulation enforcement officers who died within the line of responsibility final yr was 145, in keeping with an annual report launched by the Nationwide Regulation Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.


In December alone, 20 officers died by suicide, whereas solely 10 line-of-duty deaths have been reported.

“The only best reason behind loss of life for regulation enforcement officers every year is suicide,” stated Jeff McGill, vp of Blue H.E.L.P.

The suicide fatalities embody 151 males and eight girls. The typical age was 41, with a mean size of service of 15 years.

4 states – California, Florida, New York, and Texas – had the very best variety of officer suicides, with every state reporting a minimum of 10 fatalities in 2018.


As a result of the federal authorities doesn’t mandate the reporting of officer suicides, Blue H.E.L.P. should get hold of and confirm uncooked knowledge from quite a lot of sources, together with particular person regulation enforcement businesses and surviving relations.

“We all know there are different tragic deaths by suicide that we don’t find out about,” stated Steven Hough, co-founder of Blue H.E.L.P. “In order unhealthy a quantity as now we have this yr, we’re saddened by the truth that we all know in actuality the quantity is larger.”

In line with specialists, regulation enforcement officers die by suicide at the next fee than these in different occupations, except for the army. Widespread threads between suicides have been cited, together with pressures of the job.

The Ruderman Household Basis, a philanthropic establishment, additionally discovered that first responders die by suicide at the next fee than folks within the normal inhabitants, in keeping with an April 2018 report.


Blue H.E.L.P. advocates for elevated availability of psychological well being sources for regulation enforcement. The group additionally seeks to normalize the remedy of post-traumatic stress signs.

“There may be little or no cash being spent to scale back the numbers of officer suicides,” stated Karen Solomon, president and co-founder of Blue H.E.L.P. “We hope that by elevating consciousness concerning the scope of this drawback — and shining a lightweight on the necessity for elevated psychological well being sources directed to officers approaching disaster — we are able to in the end cut back the variety of officers who die by suicide.”

The group stated the variety of deaths might change because it tabulates incidents from the tip of the yr.

As for 2019, on New 12 months’s Day a minimum of one officer has already reportedly died by suicide.

“Taking an actual stance on officer security would require us to handle the elephant within the room,” Solomon stated. “Addressing officer wellness which incorporates religious, psychological, social, and bodily well being needs to be the primary precedence for every company head in 2019.”

In the event you or somebody you realize wants assist, name 1-800-273-8255 for the Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline. You too can textual content HOME to 741-741 without cost, 24-hour help from the Disaster Textual content Line. Exterior of the U.S., please go to the Worldwide Affiliation for Suicide Prevention for a database of sources. 

Ship David Lohr an e mail or comply with him on Fb and Twitter.

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