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NCJ Number: 193539 Find in a Library
Title: Police Suicide: We May Never Know the Answer (From Suicide and Law Enforcement, P 115-123, 2001, Donald C. Sheehan and Janet I. Warren, eds. -- See NCJ-193528)
Author(s): Robert W. Marshall
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 9
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: This examination of police suicide focuses on the stresses experienced by those in police careers, using two recent cases in Naperville, IL, as a catalyst for insights into this problem.
Abstract: The author initially considers how Naperville police officers, while dealing with the grief of the suicide of one of their sergeants (Mark Carlson), were faced with the additional stress of investigating the suffocations of three children, allegedly by their mother. The investigation of the children's deaths would normally have been headed by the sergeant who committed suicide the day before. Quick intervention helped the officers in the Naperville Department cope with these two tragedies. The department's two social workers spent many hours meeting with employees informally, providing an outlet through a discussion of their feelings. The department's chaplain was involved in the counseling process. The Northern Illinois Critical Stress Debriefing Team conducted separate debriefing sessions for supervisory and non-supervisory personnel. The team distributed worksheets on coping with stress and provided insight on what the police officers could expect to feel. After reviewing the aftermath of the two tragedies in Naperville, this article reviews studies on police suicide, noting its high rate compared with the general population and identifying specific sources of stress in policing. Stresses mentioned are continuous exposure to human misery, an overbearing police bureaucracy, shift work, social strain, marital difficulties, inconsistencies of the criminal justice system, alcohol problems, physical illness, and a lack of control over work and personal time. The article concludes with a discussion of strategies to prevent police suicide. Some resources mentioned are crisis teams to provide mandatory debriefing sessions, police counselors, physical fitness programs, wellness/stress/anger management programs, police chaplain programs, and employee assistance programs.
Main Term(s): Police suicide
Index Term(s): Case studies; Illinois; Police policies and procedures; Police stress training; Suicide causes; Suicide prevention
Note: A paper submitted to the Suicide and Law Enforcement Conference, FBI Academy, Quantico, VA, September 1999.
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