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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 220859 
Title: Suicide by Suspect: Suicide by Cop Turned Inside Out (From Under the Blue Shadow: Clinical and Behavioral Perspectives on Police Suicide, P 149-162, 2007, John M. Violanti and Stephanie Samuels -- See NCJ-220852)
Author(s): John M. Violanti; Stephanie Samuels
Date Published: 2007
Page Count: 14
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: After the authors of this chapter explain a theoretical concept which they call "suicide by suspect," they present three case studies in which suicide-prone officers engaged in such behaviors but were not killed as a result.
Abstract: Under the theoretical concept of "suicide by suspect," officers with a conscious or subconscious wish to die intentionally expose themselves to life-threatening situations that may not involve a suspect intent on killing the officer in the course of a confrontation in which the officer engages in behaviors that increase the risk that he/she will die. Although the term selected by the authors for such police behavior implies that a suspect conducts a deadly attack on an officer, the term as defined by the authors includes any officer on-duty action that carries a high risk that he/she will be killed. This could include intentionally crashing his/her patrol car into a bridge abutment or engaging in apparently heroic actions that carry a high risk for death, such as rushing into a burning building in an attempt to save actual or imagined victims. An officer's motive for seeking an on-duty death is likely to be the completion of a suicide wish without causing immediate family members to be denied compensation or insurance that would not be paid in a clear case of suicide. In the three case studies presented, officers struggling with painful mental conditions engaged in such on-duty behaviors as investigating apparent security breaches with guns holstered and without wearing a vest, traveling to emergency calls at high speed, provoking suspects to escalate confrontations, and increasing the frequency of their exposure to dangerous situations without adequate protection. 4 references
Main Term(s): Police suicide
Index Term(s): Mental disorders; Police occupational stress; Stress management
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