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NCJ Number: 219993 Find in a Library
Title: Police Suicide
Journal: Law Enforcement Technology  Volume:34  Issue:9  Dated:September 2007  Pages:8,10,12,14,16
Author(s): Michelle Perin
Date Published: September 2007
Page Count: 6
Type: Issue Overview
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article addresses the issue and issues related to police suicide and how to reduce the incidence of police suicide.
Abstract: According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 31,600 Americans committed suicide in 2004. The National P.O.L.I.C.E. Suicide Foundation estimates 447 of these were police officers. The Foundation projects that an officer kills him or herself every 17 hours. Ninety-seven percent of officers use their own service weapon in committing suicide. Many elements of law enforcement contribute to stress reactions with the potential to lead to suicide, including shift work, pending retirement, unsupportive management, and physical ailments. While these elements exist, officers have been trained to make order out of disorder. In the area of critical incidents, police departments need to be more aware and learn about certain mental disorders like posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After a critical incident, officers need to have peer support and psychological counseling helping officers cope with what they witnessed and what they had to do in the performance of their job. To address police suicides, departments around the country have implemented peer support units (PSUs). Along with PSUs, agency management must be willing to acknowledge the problem of police suicide and support changes. Another important aspect in the fight against police suicide is training. Supervisors must be trained to identify and respond to officers in need. The International Association of Chiefs of Police is developing a clearinghouse of best practices for prevention and intervention. Many police suicides can be prevented with awareness and access to accurate information and support services.
Main Term(s): Police suicide
Index Term(s): Behavior under stress; Critical incident stress; Police occupational stress; Post-trauma stress disorder (PTSD); Suicide; Suicide causes; Suicide prevention
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