Blue Wall of Silence: Perceptions of the Influence of Training on Law Enforcement Suicide

Dr. Olivia N. Johnson


Law enforcement is a dangerous profession but the truth remains more officers kill themselves than are killed in the line-of-duty. The problem is even though we know this; officers, administrators, and departments will not openly acknowledge this fact. A failure to acknowledge this silent killer causes valuable governmental funding to be lost in the form of training and education, and numerous officers to take their own lives before help is available.

This qualitative phenomenological study centered on White male law enforcement officers, due to the resemblance of this population with the segment of the general population deemed at-risk for suicide. The study focused on training’s affect on perception(s) of care and the incidence of officer suicide. The study produced the following major themes: stress, stress relief, trust/loyalty, training, and change. The following minor themes included: generational issues and organizational administration. Study participants indicated a major stressor for them included crimes against children. Study results hope to produce a mindset in which shame and anger no longer produce a shield for this deadly topic, but rather, a platform in which law enforcement personnel begin to feel more comfortable talking about the issues they face, without seeing suicide as a viable option.

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