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Suicide among top reasons for law enforcement deaths in 2021

(The T&D)
Published: Jan. 7, 2022 at 7:57 PM EST
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DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -- There were 632 law enforcement deaths across the nation in 2021, nearly 25% of those were self-inflicted.

Suicides ranked second among law enforcement deaths last year.

If you take out the number of deaths related to COVID-19, suicides would be the cause of 49% of law enforcement deaths.

“Cops are killing themselves at about two and a half times the rate the bad guys are killing us and that that’s concerning that should really put a lot of flags up for most law enforcement agencies,” said Dr. Tim Faulk, ALLEAPS Clinical Director.

Faulk says an officer involved in a high stress event has a 70% chance of suicide following the next incident if they do not seek any intervention.

There is only a 3% chance for those who do seek help.

“That in itself should wake every chief, every sheriff in the state of Alabama in the nation that, ‘hey, look, we have an issue going on that we need to deal with,” Faulk added.

Seeking that help may be easier said than done for officers who feel like they must be depended on.

“We’re in the business of helping people but the peer support, law enforcement peer support allows us the opportunity to help each other,” said Heath Carpenter, ALLEAPS instructor.

Dothan Police Captain Will Glover is an example of someone who received help from the peer support program. Glover spent more than a month in the hospital and rehab after a medical event.

“During that process. Lieutenant Carpenter actually came and visited with me and gave me some information and didn’t know that he was kind of indoctrinated me into the organization,” said Captain Will Glover, Dothan Police Department.

Now Glover serves alongside, now retired, Lieutenant Carpenter in the peer support program serving as an instructor.

“Even though I was thankful at the time that Lieutenant Carpenter took the time, it was much later that I realized the importance of that,” Glover said.

Noting the shared experiences each law enforcement officer deal with.

“As soon as another police officer walks in and gives you the information there, there’s a bond there there’s a connection with that because he carries a shield just like I do,” Glover continued.

Carpenter also adds officers do not have to wait for a traumatic experience to get involved with the peer support group.

“As law enforcement officers we carry a lot of equipment we have a lot of training,” Carpenter finished. “Some of it we use regularly, some of it we rarely ever use, but we still have that training and equipment and there’s tools available to us.”

A number Dr. Faulk also wanted to share as we are just seven days into January is there have already been four suicides among law enforcement.

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