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NCJ Number: 193581 Find in a Library
Title: Law Enforcement-Assisted Suicide: Characteristics of Subjects and Law Enforcement Intervention Techniques (From Suicide and Law Enforcement, P 607-625, 2001, Donald C. Sheehan and Janet I. Warren, eds. -- See NCJ-193528)
Author(s): Vivian B. Lord
Date Published: 2001
Page Count: 19
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: Report (Study/Research)
Format: Document
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: After describing the subject characteristics and situational factors in 64 cases of attempts by subjects to force police officers to shoot them as a means of committing suicide ("suicide-by-cop"), the tactics used by the involved police officers to deal with these incidents are categorized.
Abstract: The 64 cases of "suicide-by-cop" (SBC) were selected from 32 law enforcement agencies in North Carolina. The SBC subjects were primarily white males between the ages of 25 and 40. The cases included 16 subjects killed by officers, 5 suicides committed during the standoff with police, and 43 attempts in which officers either negotiated a surrender or managed an apprehension. For the purpose of this research, SBC's were defined as "those individuals who, when confronted by law enforcement officers, either verbalized their desire to be killed by law enforcement officers or made gestures, such as pointing weapons at officers or hostages, running at officers with weapons, or throwing weapons at officers." An analysis of the characteristics of the SBC subject and incident encompassed mental disorders, substance abuse, social isolation, work problems, stressful life events, suicidal ideation or prior suicide attempts, lethality of method, aggression and anger, and physical illness. A large percentage of the subjects had identified mental health issues, abused drugs and alcohol, suffered from stressful life events, and had talked about suicide. Physical illness and work-related problems were less likely to be a factor in the incidents. In cases in which officers were unable to use tactical or negotiation tools, the SBC incident was likely to be short-lived with lethal results. In cases in which the subject was willing to negotiate and the negotiator was able to discuss the subject's problems with him, the subject was usually restrained without harm. In all cases, the subject controlled the outcome of the incident by the level of his commitment to complete the suicide and the tactics he used. 7 tables
Main Term(s): Police policies and procedures
Index Term(s): Offender profiles; Suicide; Suicide prevention; Victim profiles
Note: A paper submitted to the Suicide and Law Enforcement Conference, FBI Academy, Quantico, VA, September 1999.
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