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May 2019 | Volume 12 | Issue 4

The COPS Office participates in Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention Initiative

One officer suicide is one too many. In recent years, more officers have died by suicide than were fatally shot in the line of duty. The time has come to take action to protect and serve those who protect and serve our communities.

On April 30, 2019, the National Consortium on Preventing Law Enforcement Suicide (the Consortium) convened for its inaugural meeting. This initiative is sponsored by the Department of Justice, Bureau of Justice Assistance (BJA), and is in partnership with the International Association of Chiefs of Police (IACP) and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention. The COPS Office is proud to participate in the first ever Consortium of its kind dedicated to raising awareness of and preventing law enforcement suicide.

COPS Office Director Phil Keith and BJA Director Jon Adler at the April 2018 OSWG Meeting

The COPS Office has long worked in partnership with BJA to elevate and amplify issues related to officer safety and wellness through the National Officer Safety and Wellness Group. It has also recently released the Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act: Report to Congress, which raises the important issue of suicide prevention among its other recommendations.

Over the next 18 months, the Consortium will lead a groundbreaking national conversation around the issue of law enforcement suicide. Experts from law enforcement agencies and families, mental health and suicide prevention services, and academia will examine the full spectrum of law enforcement suicide. The Consortium will leverage its collective expertise to produce a comprehensive report with recommendations on consistent definitions and terminology relating to officer suicide; policy and procedure updates; research and data collection improvements; effective messaging strategies; and promising practices in prevention, intervention, and postvention. "We choose a career in law enforcement because we are driven by a calling to help others and to protect and serve our communities. We know when we take the oath that our job comes with certain risks; however, that does not mean we do not need adequate support for the emotional and physiological impact that can result from the job,” said IACP President Paul M. Cell.

Please visit BJA's National Officer Safety Initiatives website, the IACP's Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention and Awareness resource page, and the National Action Alliance for Suicide Prevention's website to learn more about the National Consortium on Preventing Law Enforcement Suicide.

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