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NCJ Number: 193529 Find in a Library
Title: Suicide Prevention Training: One Department's Response (From Suicide and Law Enforcement, P 9-15, 2001, Donald C. Sheehan and Janet I. Warren, eds. -- See NCJ-193528)
Author(s): Scott W. Allen
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 7
Sponsoring Agency: US Dept of Justice
Quantico, VA 22135
Sale Source: US Dept of Justice
Federal Bureau of Investigation
Behavioral Science Unit FBI Acad
Quantico, VA 22135
United States of America
Document: PDF|PDF
Type: Program/Project Description
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This paper describes the structure and content of the Miami-Dade Police Department's interactive training program designed to help law enforcement employees better understand the risk factors and intervention resources, so as to prepare both sworn and civilian employees for preventing and dealing with suicidal impulses they may experience in the course of their employment.
Abstract: The Psychological Services Section presents the training to all police academy classes, at all civilian training blocks, and in mandatory recertification training for sworn personnel. The training has several modules, a structure that facilitates a flexible presentation of materials according to time constraints and audience. The training, which incorporates principles of learning theory, uses the following definition of suicide: "Suicide is a problem-solving behavior aimed at improving an unpleasant and untenable situation, improving a threatened self-image, and exercising omnipotence instead of hopelessness and helplessness." A transition is then made from the definition of suicide to the risk factors of suicide. Emphasis is given to the risk predictors of perturbation (extreme emotional agitation) and negative evaluation, which includes hopelessness, helplessness, depression, and self-loathing. Another component of the training addresses patterns of communication deviance, since suicidal individuals tend to be poor communicators. The seemingly inconsistent behavioral patterns of the suicidal paradox are also reviewed in the training. The participants are reminded that suicide is a problem-solving behavior and that the decision-making processes that precede a suicide attempt are similar to those that precede any other major decision. Chronic interpersonal behavior patterns that differentiate persons at high risk for suicide are discussed, such as marital discord or isolation, perceived job shame/humiliation, social isolation, help negation, substance abuse, inability to see alternatives, and poor impulse control. In discussing intervention, the training makes clear that employees of the Miami-Dade Police Department will not be fired if they seek intervention for suicide risk factors. The training articulates the goal of crisis intervention strategies as a method to assist the individual in crisis to effectively contain or control the physical expression of the internal turmoil manifested as suicidal ideation and behaviors. The department believes that the training in suicide prevention and intervention has contributed significantly to the department's low rate of employee suicides. Attachments list the common single predictors of suicide, the 10 commonalities of suicide, and the characteristics of families with suicidal potential.
Main Term(s): Police suicide
Index Term(s): Florida; Police occupational stress; Police stress training; Suicide causes; Suicide prevention
Note: Paper submitted to the Suicide and Law Enforcement Conference, FBI Academy, Quantico, VA, September 1999.
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