- An NYPD officer died by suicide on Tuesday after being placed on restricted duty, according to reports.
- He jumped from a building next to the offices where officers’ health assessments are carried out.
- An expert says Insider cops are more likely to self-harm when under investigation or on modified duty.
A New York Police Department officer died by suicide on Tuesday after reports indicate he was placed on restricted duty and his duty weapon confiscated.
Shortly after midday today, the officer – whose name has not been released by police pending notification to next of kin – jumped from an adjacent Queens apartment building at the NYPD’s medical division, where assessments of the department’s mental and physical health are conducted, the Daily Mail reported. .
In an emailed statement to Insider, police confirmed the officer was a five-year veteran of the force and was assigned to Staten Island’s 121st Precinct.
The New York Daily News reported that the officer had recently been placed on restricted duty and had mental health issues, adding that he had just left an appointment with a department-mandated psychiatrist before his death.
“Please help me,” the NYPost reported, the officer wrote in a social media post in November. “Please love me. Please take care of me. Please listen to me. PLEASE COMMUNICATE WITH ME. TIME ON ME!”
The NYPD did not respond to Insider’s request for clarification on whether the officer’s reassignment was due to disciplinary action or an internal investigation, or a general concern for his well-being. .
Steve Hough, a 20-year veteran of law enforcement and the chief operating officer of First Help, a mental health advocacy nonprofit that tracks first responder suicides, said the Insider agents are often at a higher risk of injury if they are removed from their regular assignment or are under investigation.
“We’re seeing — I don’t mean we’re seeing a lot, but we’re getting a lot of reports from officers who have taken their own lives because they’re under internal investigation,” Hough told Insider. “Or because they were about to be arrested.”
Often, Hough said, officers who die by suicide have additional complicating factors such as divorce or money issues, but the confiscation of their duty weapon or the opening of an investigation can make them feel alienated from their working community, which is often deeply tied to an officer’s sentiment. of personal identity.
“We see this culture where mental struggle is seen as a sign of weakness,” Hough told Insider. “And there’s very little support from, for lack of a better term, guys like me – guys who’ve been around for 25 years and we’re not used to dealing with mental fitness.”
Because of this internal culture — and the sense that officers should be the ones providing help rather than receiving it — Hough said, officers are unlikely to share their struggles with other members of their department. .
“We certainly know that the stigma attached to it is the main reason they don’t seek help,” Hough said. “It’s this fear of ‘if I say that, what’s going to happen to my career, what’s going to happen?'”
The NYPD has long faced a mental health crisis among its officers. Ten NYPD officers died by suicide in 2019, NBC News reported, prompting the department to order its officers to undergo mandatory suicide prevention training, according to Staten Island Live. Since forming and launching several peer-to-peer outreach groups, four NYPD officers have died by suicide in 2020 and three in 2021, the New York Post reported. Last year, four NYPD officers died by suicide, according to the Daily Mail.
“I want every member of the NYPD to know that your department is here for you,” Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said in a statement offering his condolences to the officer’s family that was emailed to Insider by NYPD officials.
Sewell’s statement added: “Before we can help others, we need to make sure we too are well. To our struggling members, I implore you to seek help from the resources at your disposal – within or outside the department. Asking for help is one of the bravest acts you can do.”