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
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
the department is insured. This
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 for a copy of the 2008 or 2012 studies,
contact Ron Clark at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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