2016 Police Suicide Study

A Study of Police Suicide in 2008-2016
Girl's Letter to School
Police Suicide - What It ISN'T
Master Police Coaches - Building a Better Cop
PTSD - The "Hidden Injury"
Police Suicide - Making a Difference
The Importance of Therapy
Police Suicide - the SOLUTIONS
Interview with the BOL Chairman
So-Called "Helpers"
2016 Police Suicide Study
Annual Mental Health Checks
Stigma - The Human Stain
2016 Police Suicides: the NSOPS Study
Police Stress vs Trauma--a difference?
Does PTSD Cause Violence? from the Badge of Life
A New Police Suicide Prevention Program for the 21st Century
Police Suicide, Just a Bad Choice?
Chiefs Lead the Way
"Bring a Buddy"
Cumulative PTSD - a Silent Killer
Dealing with a Suicidal Police Officer

It’s time again.


There was no formal tracking of police suicides before the National Surveillance of Police Suicides (NSOPS) by Badge of Life.  No agency or other entity has volunteered to do such tracking.  A breakdown of our ongoing research shows the following:


2008 – 141 police suicides

2009 – 143 police suicides

2012 – 126 police suicides

2016 -  108 police suicides

During 2015, we did a six-month sampling of police suicides using our program.  We found, during that period, a total of 51 police suicides.  2016, a full year study, showed another drop.


Information on suicides, during 2017, will continue to include:





Years on the job

Means of suicide


As with studies in the past, the 2017 study will not include the name or city/jurisdiction of the suicide.  By not doing so, anonymity of the department is insured.  This is important and is designed to make departments more comfortable reporting suicides when and where they occur.


Completion of the study is no small task, necessitating a simpler format than used in the past.  Internet monitoring is the primary tool for identifying suicides; approximately 100 terms are searched on a daily basis (police suicide, police officer suicide, policeman suicide, cop suicide, deputy suicide, etc) and are supplemented by individual searches as needed based on input from the field and cursory findings from the initial searches, as well as websites, social media and individual contributions.  Approximately two to three hours each day, seven days a week, is needed to accomplish this task. It is, to say the least, “labor intensive.” An additional 37 percent has already been added into the raw totals to account for misreported, hidden or covered-up suicides.  The task is made easier, however, when there is increased involvement in the reporting by individual departments that suffer a police suicide.


We are hopeful that the latter—departmental and individual cooperation and assistance—will play a major role in the furtherance of this program.  The success of these studies—the knowledge of what is “happening” out there—is crucial to the development of effective programs designed to enhance the mental wellness of police officers in one of the most toxic, caustic career fields in the world.  To put it simply, an emotionally healthy officer does not commit suicide.


The current study began January 1, 2017.  For additional information, or to report a police suicide during the year (YOU CAN HELP), contact Ron Clark at badgeoflife@gmail.com.



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