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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 220858 
Title: Suicide By Cop: Impact on Police Officers (From Under the Blue Shadow: Clinical and Behavioral Perspectives on Police Suicide, P 134-148, 2007, John M. Violanti and Stephanie Samuels -- See NCJ-220852)
Author(s): James J. Drylie; John M. Violanti; Stephanie Samuels
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 15
Sponsoring Agency: Charles C. Thomas
Springfield, IL 62704
Sale Source: Charles C. Thomas
2600 South First Street
Springfield, IL 62704
United States of America
Type: Case Study; Issue Overview
Format: Book Chapter
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This chapter examines the impact on police officers of "suicide by cop," in which a person, bent on self-destruction, purposely aims a weapon at a police officer with the expectation of a deadly-force response by the officer, thus using the predictable actions of the officer as a means of committing suicide.
Abstract: This tactic is often used by perpetrators of suicide by cop as a means of ensuring that family members will not be denied life insurance benefits, which typically are not issued when the policy-holder commits suicide. Currently, there is little information on the effects on involved officers of "suicide by cop." A case from the treatment files of one of the authors of this chapter shows the emotional toll that suicide by cop took on one officer. The involved officer became increasingly depressed and out of control. He feared that he would use his weapon to commit suicide during a drinking episode or a state of depression. He mentioned his thoughts of suicide to the therapist. The event that had traumatized him had been officially determined to be suicide by cop. Although the officer knew in his mind that he had little choice but to shoot the person intent on committing suicide by cop, at an emotional level, his psyche was disrupted by his becoming an instrument of another person's death. His depression was aggravated by alcohol abuse. Under support from his wife and the officer's recognition that his suicidal thoughts and abuse of alcohol were destroying his family relationships, he has made a commitment to stop drinking and receive treatment for his psychological problems. 9 references
Main Term(s): Police occupational stress
Index Term(s): Police use of deadly force; Suicide; Victim crime precipitation
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