Police Suicide - Name It, Tame It: The Elephant in the Department

Dr. Olivia N. Johnson

Abstract


Shrouded in a dark and seemingly tangled web of silence and secrecy, the police culture is problematic and misunderstood to many considered outsiders. A culture constructed of shared values and common ideals, creates a unique bond of solidarity and trust between the men and women in blue, cemented by silence. Oftentimes, such silence is warranted when securing evidentiary information, protecting crime victims, and shielding officers from unwarranted public scrutiny. However, the flip side remains that issues concerning officer safety and wellness are also tangled in this web. One such secret concerns the number one killer of police officers – suicide. To prevent officer suicide, we must ACT— (A) acknowledge, (C) communicate, and (T) train officers on the hazards of the job. This article explores this secretive topic to help us begin to understand how the culture of silence perpetuates suicide as the predominant cop killer. The article is an attempt to unveil the elephant in the department.

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[JLE] ISSN 2161-0231 (Online)

Blue Wall Institute, Belleville, Illinois 62226