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Name: James
Location: MA USA

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10.06.18Police Suicides Outnumber Line of Duty Deaths

Police Suicides Outnumber Line of Duty Deaths

In March of 2017, New Hampshire's law enforcement community learned of the suicide of a Keene Police Chief Brian Costa.  Chief Costa was a very well liked, personable, and effective police officer and his passing is a tragedy beyond description.  Sadly, USA Today reports that police suicides outnumbered line-of-duty deaths in 2017.  What does it say about our priorities that "while suicide has been an ingrained issue for years, very little has been done to address it even though first responders have PTSD and depression at a level five times that of civilians"?   All this despite the very thorough and specific action items spelled out in 2015's 21st Century Policing Task Force including a call for much needed federal intervention on the issue.  As suggested in this April 2018 Law Enforcement Today, there is a critical need for departments to consider peer mentoring/support, suicide prevention programs, mental health check ups and time off for officers responding to critical incidents.  Perhaps the most important recommendation made is the development and implementation of family training programs to identify the signs of depression and PTSD. I'm am resolved to take time at this year's IACP Conference to gain a better understanding as to what is out there in the way of movement on the action items spelled out in the 21st Task Force Report and to contact my local, state and federal officials about the issue upon my return home. Would you do the same?  

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