More law enforcement officers commit suicide each year than are killed in traffic accidents and felonious assaults.
Despite that fact, mental illness issues have long been stigmatized within the law enforcement community and few agencies properly address suicide prevention, according to the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the U.S. Department of Justice's Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program.
In order to develop a national strategy to address officer mental wellness and suicide prevention, IACP and COPS hosted a symposium in July 2013 at which agency officials produced guidelines, released today, focusing on culture change, early warning and prevention protocols, training and event response protocols.
- Establish and institutionalize effective early warning and intervention protocols to identify and treat at-risk officers
- Audit existing psychological services and determine whether they are effective in identifying early warning signs
- Invest in mental health and stress management training agency
- Begin mental wellness training at the academies
- Mental health training for officers' families
- Establish clear post-event protocols to implement and follow when officers die by suicide.
Read the full report HERE.