Police officer suicide needs to be addressed, not hidden, officials say

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  • Flashback Kearns, UT
    Dec. 9, 2013 12:09 p.m.

    The job is the toughest one on people that there is. And the sad thing is that no-one understands cops except other cops. Not spouses, not parents, not kids, not anyone. The stresses of the job are very real. Some come from dealing with the criminals, some from within departments, some from marriage/family, and some from just plain being unprepared, in some cases mentally for the demands of the job.

    After my career was over, I went to a shrink for over a year to get de-programmed and turn back into a normal human being. I think in the years since, my outlook on life is better and I certainly get along better with my wife and family.

    I think that in order to remain a certified officer, each and every cop, from the top on down ought to have to go to manditory mental health consultation paid for by the entity they work for at least twice a year. I feel that if I would have had to do that, my later career would have been better.

    My idea would require a change to the law. We need to have the courage to do this.

  • one old man Ogden, UT
    Dec. 8, 2013 12:55 p.m.

    When I attended police training way back in 1967, this was a topic discussed in a series of sessions. We were told that police officers even then, had the highest suicide rates of any profession -- and the highest divorce rates.

    That was a long time ago and the job has only grown even tougher.

  • Bonemaro Oviedo, FL
    Dec. 7, 2013 8:23 p.m.

    This is a serious issue that is not addressed much at all. It should be addressed at all levels of Law Enforcement, starting at the Police Academy. I went through some very difficult times in my Law Enforcement career, to the point I nearly took my own life. I have fully recovered from these issues. I'm now a Staff Member of Badge of Life. I now assist others with their issues, I also do public speaking about Police stress and suicide. Mental health is just as important as physical health.

  • jamsenior SANTAQUIN, UT
    Dec. 7, 2013 7:30 p.m.

    I wonder if there is any correlation between fire fighters and law enforcement ? Both groups see a lot more of the down side of human suffering.

  • Truthseeker SLO, CA
    Dec. 7, 2013 5:05 p.m.

    Deepest condolences to Officer Steven Hansen's family and loved ones. Few of us really can comprehend or appreciate the difficult jobs law enforcement officers do.

    The correlation between suicide and gun ownership is stronger than the link between suicide and homicide.

    Janet Rosenbaum, an assistant professor of epidemiology at the School of Public Health at the State University of New York (SUNY) Downstate Medical Center School, conducted research on gun ownership in Israel and Switzerland and found:

    "In Israel, it used to be that all soldiers would take the guns home with them. Now they have to leave them on base. Over the years they’ve done this -- it began, I think, in 2006 -- there’s been a 60% decrease in suicide on weekends among IDS soldiers. And it did not correspond to an increase in weekday suicide. People think suicide is an impulse that exists and builds. This shows that doesn’t happen. The impulse to suicide is transitory. Someone with access to a gun at that moment may commit suicide, but if not, they may not."