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How to Best Protect Your Force Against Officer Suicide

NCJ Number
Date Published
May 2017
2 pages
In this 3-minute video, John Violanti, Research Professor at Buffalo, discusses the prevalence and causes of police suicide and describes steps law enforcement agencies are taking to address this issue.
Violanti notes that on average, police officers commit suicide at a higher rate than the general working population. His research has shown that officers have about 69 percent greater risk of suicide. One of the causes of this high suicide rate among officers is the significant work-related trauma and stress. The regular exposure to stressful and anxiety-producing encounters and events can have a cumulative effect that overwhelms an officer's coping abilities. Violanti views one promising practice in addressing this issue as training in police academies regarding what officers will encounter in police work and beneficial ways to cope with various stressful features of policing. He also notes the importance of changing the policing culture to accept vulnerability to mental and emotional difficulties, along with the importance of acknowledging the need for psychological intervention when they are depressed or having difficulty coping with their emotional reactions under work conditions.

Date Published: May 1, 2017