DPC Superintendent Brown says the department’s mental health is the top priority following the suicide of the 3rd Chicago police officer this month

CHICAGO (WLS) — Three Chicago police officers have committed suicide so far in July, prompting the department to once again increase the force’s support and awareness of mental health services.

CPD Superintendent David Brown told a news conference on Monday that the mental health of officers is a top priority for the department, especially when, he said, policing n has never been so difficult.

“This is such a difficult situation for the Chicago Police Department,” Brown said.

Brown said he works to address the stigma of seeking mental health help within the department, both before and during a crisis.

“The stigma of even talking to someone in our profession is a challenge,” Brown said. “A lot of officers find this a sign of weakness.”

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The most recent death came just a day after another CPD officer was found dead by suicide at his home and weeks after Officer Patsy Swank took his own life.

“She was the most beautiful person, just fun and compassionate,” her brother Ryan Clancy said. “She was always there for everyone. She cared for the people she loved and went out of her way to protect and serve others.”

Clancy, like other family members of officers who have died by suicide, said one of the biggest mental health challenges they face is overwork.

“It’s a crisis,” he said. “I think there are places to find help, but when you overload these people, there are no days off, long hours; there is no real time to go talk to someone.”

Julie Troglia, wife of the late Ofc. Jeff Troglia, who died by suicide in 2021, agreed.

“We have the resources for them, but they can’t use them because they are constantly working. Stop canceling days off,” she said. “They’re pushed to the limit and they’re all backed into a corner now.”

Troglia also said the stigma of asking for help is compounded for officers when they don’t have time to take care of themselves.

The identity of the third officer has not yet been revealed.

“We ask the city to embrace the loved ones of this sergeant as they mourn his loss. Please also take a moment to pray for the men and women of the CPD, who mourn alongside the family of this sergeant,” the department said in a statement. .

“It is very heartbreaking to know that an officer was so stressed, so depressed, that he felt he had no way out but to kill himself,” said Jamay Nellum-Fane, a former officer of the CPD.

After serving 16 years with the Chicago Police Department before retiring in April, Nellum-Fane said the emotional stress of being a police officer has become extreme.

“Days off are canceled and then we have to be real – the stress our officers are under responding to calls – person with a gun, person shot, domestic battery, child abuse, sexual assault,” he said. she declared.

She said the stress, in part, led to her retirement.

“I went through that dark time, dealing with depression, PTSD, post-traumatic stress. It was just too much. It was excessive,” Nellum-Fane said.

“We can always take better care of our brothers and sisters by trying to pay attention to possible moments of crisis where we can step in,” Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara said in a statement.

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The FOP President and Nellum-Fane agree that more can be done.

“I think they need to be more creative and maybe assign counselors, social workers, whatever, to the actual districts,” Nellum-Fane said.

In response to a tweet from the Chicago Police Department on Sunday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot replied:

“Know that we hear you and that we are working tirelessly to ease the mental and physical burden on our officers.”

If you are feeling suicidal or worried about someone you know, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 988. You can also text the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

For more information, visit suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

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