New Jersey Police Suicide Task Force Report

In October 2008, the Governor of New Jersey formed a task force to study police suicide in that state. The Task Force shared expertise, reviewed material on police suicide, & invited guest speakers to make presentations. Law enforcement supervisors were surveyed on their utilization of mental health services for their officers. 4 recommendations were made: […]

Police Suicide. Name it, Tame it: the Elephant in the Department

This article explores the hazards of policing, including a culture of silence, to help understand how this culture perpetuates suicide as the predominant cause of death among police officers. (9 refs.) JA Contact us for a copy of this article, or view online at http://www.jghcs.info/index.php/j/article/view/10

Law Enforcement Suicide: the Supervisor’s Guide to Prevention and Intervention (IN: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

The law enforcement first-line supervisor, when properly trained, can play a vital role in prevention & intervention tactics relating to law enforcement suicide. Law enforcement agencies have a responsibility to educate & train first-line supervisors (& eventually all personnel) in the recognition of signs & symptoms in those officers that could be indicators of possible […]

The Suicide Funnel: a Training aid for law Enforcement Instructors (In: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

The Suicide Funnel is designed as a training aid that can serve as the basis for a candid discussion of the potential indicators of an officer’s suicidal thoughts & behaviours as well as appropriate interventions. The funnel shape visually conveys the normality of occasional thoughts of wanting the pain to stop & the danger of […]

Suicide and law Enforcement: is Suicide Intervention a Necessary Part of Police Training?

Another version of this presentation, same title, is also available.

Psychiatric Autopsy: its use in Police Suicides (In: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

This chapter outlines the use of psychiatric autopsy techniques as a tool in understanding police suicide. The psychiatric autopsy approach is a synthesis of assessment methods taken from both psychological autopsy & psychobiography. After a discussion of the background, purpose, & methodology of psychiatric autopsy, the chapter explores a specific case of police suicide-homicide by […]

Police Suicide: we may Never Know the Answer (IN: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

The title of a newspaper article, “We may Never Know the Answer” served as the impetus to search for possible answers to the complex problems of police stress & suicide. 2 incidents in Naperville, Illinois are provided as illustration. This chapter attempts to bring forward some of the reasons for police officer stress, discusses some […]

Suicide Postvention for law Enforcement Personnel (In: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

This chapter focusses on postvention. Postvention services include play therapy for children, professional supportive counselling for individuals most affected, professional psychoeducational group counselling, & peer counselling. Specific postvention procedures are presented. JA

Suicide Ideation in the South African Police Services in the North West Province

This research examined the relationship between sense of coherence, job satisfaction, & suicide ideation among South African police personnel. The study population consisted of 120 police officers in the North West Province. The results show sense of coherence is related to suicide ideation in the case of white police officers. Sense of coherence & satisfaction […]

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Employee Assistance Program Response to Suicide (In: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

The Federal Bureau of Investigation’s internal employee assistance program has a proactive approach to suicide prevention & response, including a standard of care & a suicide response protocol. Factors that contribute to the suicide of an agent include depression, posttraumatic stress disorder, frustration, firearms, & management response. Suicide in the Federal Bureau of Investigation is […]

Police Suicide: Living Between the Lines (In: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

This chapter presents a model known as “living between the lines”, one interpretation of the correlation between interpersonal stress & suicide. This approach explores an officer’s commitment to a career that has been described as a de facto marriage, at times superseding family. The cumulative effect of the cycle of stress described in this model […]

Psychological Strengths, Coping and Suicide Ideation in the South African Police Services in the North West Province

This research determined the relationship between sense of coherence, generalised self-efficacy, locus of control, & coping on the one hand & suicide ideation among South African police personnel on the other. The study population consisted of 287 uniformed officers in the North West Province. Results showed sense of coherence & generalised self-efficacy were related to […]

Police Suicides in the New York City Police Department: Causal Factors and Remedial Measures (In: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

Since 1985, 89 uniformed members of the New York City Police Department have died by suicide. The department has established several employee assistance units, innovative programs, & initiatives to assist police personnel who are experiencing personal & professional problems in an effort to reduce the incidence of police suicides. This chapter will discuss causal factors […]

The Identification of High-Risk Behavior That has the Potentiality of Culminating in the Covert Suicide of a law Enforcement Officer (In: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

The disinclination to discuss suicide is compounded in the law enforcement community where officers are expected “to suck it up” & not admit to problems. The literature is replete with examples of situations where an officer most likely died by suicide but the death was classified as accidental. In addition, careful perusal of officers’ deaths […]

Suicide Prevention in law Enforcement: the Toronto Police Service Experience (IN: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

When community mental health professionals became aware of the fact that the Toronto Police Service had gone over 7 years without one uniformed member dying by suicide, two questions arose: how & why? This chapter examines the past & recent history of suicide within the Toronto Police Service. The author offers observations & suggestions as […]

Contamination of cop: Secondary Traumatic Stress of Officers Responding to Civilian Suicides (In: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

Because police response to civilian suicide is uncharted territory for the field of mental health, the authors drew from 3 well-researched areas to develop a model: secondary traumatic stress, critical incidents in law enforcement, & suicide in the helping professions. A questionnaire was completed by 103 sworn personnel & 3 modes of assessment determined patterns […]

There is Hope: a Training Program for Suicide Awareness and Suicide Potential (In: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

In 1997, the state of Georgia law enforcement community was made painfully aware of suicide & its consequences following a series of closely-spaced suicides. This painful awakening led to the conclusion that suicide awareness & prevention are the responsibility of every leader. With the support of the Georgia Chief’s & Georgia Sheriff’s Associations, a request […]

Suicide in the Norwegian Police in the Period 1972-1996 (In: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

This chapter presents the results of a study on the number of suicides among Norwegian police officers in the period 1972-1996. Questionnaires & structured indepth interviews were done. A total of 41 police officers, 38 male & 3 female, died by suicide. For male officers, the suicide rate increased from 10.0 to 34.3 per 100,000 […]

Suicide in Police Work: Exploring Potential Contributing Influences

This study explored potential influences on suicide ideation among 105 randomly selected urban police officers. Depression, gender, & marital status appeared to be most strongly associated with suicide ideation. Depressive symptoms were higher among women than men. For each standard deviation increase in depressive symptoms, the prevalence ratio of suicide ideation increased 73 percent in […]

Police Suicide: an Executive’s Perspective (In: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

Over the last 20 years, as researchers, police administrations & psychologists have focused on police stress, much effort has dealt with its negative manifestations: heart attacks, cardiovascular disease, premature death, digestive disturbances, ulcers, divorce, & substance abuse. By its nature, police suicide has been the subject of particular interest. That police suicide is a concern […]

Police Suicide: why are the Rates in Some Places so low? (In: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

The published literature on police suicide contains serious measurement problems that undermine understanding, including: unreliability of small samples, lack of statistical significance testing, comparison of different time periods, use of different data sources, use of different summary measures, comparison to inappropriate norms, & misclassification of suicides as accidents. The authors suggest solutions for these problem […]

Cpl. Paul Smith’s Life: the Force let him Down

This article relates the factors contributing to the suicide of Paul Smith, an 18-year member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police. Following his death, he was diagnosed with posttraumatic stress disorder. It is asserted Cpl. Smith did not receive the treatment he needed even though, when asked, he had acknowledged having thoughts of suicide.

Police Suicide: Assessing the Needs of the Survivors (In: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

This article discusses the results of a study conducted by Survivors of Law Enforcement Suicide (SOLES) & makes recommendations to prevent or reduce survivor trauma based on that study. The trauma that survivors experience may stem from seeing horrifying sights at the scene of the suicide, being improperly notified, hearing about department speculation, or feeling […]