Counseling in the New York City Police Department is offered as a voluntary option for troubled officers and, in some cases, is mandatory, but it remains among the most underused tools in a police officer's arsenal, the result of an age-old stigma within the department against psychiatry in general, says the New York Times. Lt. Michael Pigott, who killed himself last week after having ordered the fatal Taser shooting of a man on a ledge Sept. 24, was required to receive counseling within the Police Department.
Kenneth Boss, one of the officers involved in the shooting death nine years ago of Amadou Diallo, an unarmed African immigrant, spoke with bitterness toward the department counseling. He said he internalized his grief over Diallo's death and was so overwhelmed by the sharp turn his own life had taken, and the abandonment that he felt from the department, that he had suicidal thoughts at times. “That mandatory counseling, it's a mandatory visit. They don't counsel you,” said Boss, who remains on duty. “Never once in nine years did someone call to see if I was standing on a bridge or holding a gun to my head,” he said.