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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 193542 Find in a Library
Title: Suicide Prevention in Law Enforcement: The Toronto Police Service Experience (From Suicide and Law Enforcement, P 151-157, 2001, Donald C. Sheehan and Janet I. Warren, eds. -- See NCJ-193528)
Author(s): Jaan Schaer
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: The Toronto Police Service (TPS) has not had an officer suicide over the past 7 years; this article examines the past and recent history of suicide within the TPS, and the author considers the factors that have contributed to this unusual phenomenon.
Abstract: Available data indicate that since 1975 the TPS has had 22 officer suicides, with the most recent occurring in June 1992. One of the primary reasons for this suicide-free record over the past 7 years has been a concerted effort to change the organizational culture of the TPS from one in which officers were conditioned to suppress emotions and to view the use of counseling services as a sign of weakness to a culture in which officers feel comfortable in acknowledging and seeking help for various personal problems. This change has occurred due to a combination of peer pressure, family intervention, enlightened management practices, a new generation of officers who recognize the emotional hazards of modern policing, and a police association that promotes the well-being of its membership. The Employee and Family Assistance Program Committee has representatives from management and officer associations, such that adequate resources for the Employee and Family Assistance program are ensured. A high standard of confidentiality and credibility is maintained. Medical Advisory Services provides "fitness for duty" assessments for managers who have concerns about individual officers based on negative indicators. Other initiatives that contribute to suicide prevention in the TPS are extensive psychological testing, screening, and background checks of recruits; intervention for recruits who exhibit signs of distress in training; management policies designed to reduce officer stress; proactive initiatives that emphasize physical and emotional balance in the lives of police officers and their families; and a formal Chaplaincy Program. 4 tables
Main Term(s): Police suicide
Index Term(s): Canada; Employee assistance programs; Police management; Police policies and procedures; Police suicide; Suicide; 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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