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NCJ Number: 193531 Find in a Library
Title: Suicide in San Francisco: Lessons Learned and Preventions (From Suicide and Law Enforcement, P 31-44, 2001, Donald C. Sheehan and Janet I. Warren, eds. -- See NCJ-193528)
Author(s): Alan Benner
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 14
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: Issue Overview
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: Based on the author's own experience with suicide ideation as a San Francisco police officer some 25 years ago, he presents his observations on training and interventions to prevent suicide among police officers.
Abstract: The author first describes his feelings and thought processes at the time he was at risk of suicide, as he reflects upon the beliefs, values, and personal expectations in policing that made him vulnerable to suicidal ideation. He subsequently obtained a Ph.D. in psychology and studied issues related to officer suicides. He has attempted to translate his knowledge and experience into training and therapy interventions. In this paper, he first discusses the need for police officers to think and talk about their feelings, thoughts, and suicide itself. In training situations and in some clinical interventions, officers must be encouraged to consider suicidal vulnerabilities and prevention strategies. This paper lists six questions that might be asked of police officers to help them think about their feelings and responses under various circumstances that bear upon suicide risk. A review of police suicides in San Francisco from 1965-2000 notes the increase in suicides in less turbulent times for the department. This is posed as a subject for research. In discussing "ways to look at suicide," the author provides an overview of the research perspective and an overview of the police officers' perspective. He then focuses on how an officer's personality may change under the influences of a police career, the topic explored in the author's doctoral dissertation. Implications for entry-level psychological screening for police officers are discussed. One section of the paper addresses the risks posed by an occupation that encourages the suppression of feelings in order to act professional. This is followed by a case study that examines how a police agency should respond to an officer who manifests the symptoms of emotional distress and suicide risk. The author advises that officers previously at risk must not be discarded, but rather receive the support and services that will enable them to return to full duty. Attached questionnaire that examined the influence of a police career on an officer's personality
Main Term(s): Police suicide
Index Term(s): California; Police occupational stress; Police stress training; Suicide; Suicide causes; Suicide prevention
Note: Paper submitted to the Suicide and Law Enforcement Conference, FBI Academy, Quantico, VA, September 1999.
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