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

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 […]

Police Suicide and Small Departments: a Survey (In: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

The study presented in this chapter reviewed data from 89 sheriff & police departments in Illinois, Indiana, & Minnesota. Six questions arising from the results of the data were discussed. Nine suicides were reported in the 89 departments, representing 3,736 officers from 1980-1998. There was a 0.0004% yearly average difference between the police suicides & […]

Police Suicide – a Web Surveillance of National Data

This paper represents an empirical attempt to gather descriptive police suicide data from all fifty American states for one year – 2008 – and record it in a cohesive manner that may be useful to researchers, police agencies, & program developers. Internet surveillance methods were used to obtain data. Other descriptive data related to police […]

Developing Policy to Combat Police Suicide (In: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

This chapter presents police suicide not as an event, but as a socialization process of learned behaviour within the culture & environment of modern policing. The author describes the learning & reinforced learning involved in each phase of the police career. By presenting depression, stress, & inadequate coping skills as learned behaviour, positive coping mechanisms […]

Suicidal Behavior Among German Police Officers (In: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

When comparisons are made between American & European police officers, the results of the studies are often contradictory. This chapter describes & discusses a study of police suicides in Germany in order to provide a baseline of comparison. JA

Suicide Prevention Training: one Department’s Response (In: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

The proactive response of the Miami-Dade Police Department to law enforcement suicide & indirect self-destructive behaviour through an interactive training program is described in this chapter. Law enforcement suicide is defined as a problem-solving behaviour primarily aimed at improving a threatened self-image (sudden shame). The dynamics of the suicidal paradox, the avoidance of euphemisms, & […]

Barriers to Effective Mental Health Interventions That Reduce Suicide by Police Officers (In: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

Suicide by officers became the genesis of a confidential counselling program for officers & their families. However, 10 years after these deaths, a confidential counselling service was shifted to a gatekeeper, nonconfidential service delivery model. Within 2 years, three more officers had died by suicide. This agency provided a near-perfect A-B-A research design where the […]

Death by Their own Hands: Have we Failed to Protect our Protectors? (In: Suicide and Law Enforcement, edited by D C Sheehan & J I Warren)

Twice as many peace officers reportedly die by suicide as are killed in the line of duty. Has suicide among law enforcement become an epidemic? If so, what is the cause? More important, what is the cure? Many obstacles interfere with research on law enforcement suicide, including the natural reticence of families & law enforcement […]