Law enforcement officers are committing suicide in greater numbers than all other line-of-duty deaths combined, according to the website Bluehelp.org.
At least 159 American law enforcement officers took their own lives in 2018. The same number committed suicide in 2017, which was up from 140 in 2016.
Shannon Hartley, with the local Fraternal Order of Police, tells Action News Jax the numbers are alarming.
He’s personally known three officers over the years who took their own lives.
“The eyes see more than the soul can handle,” he said.
Hartley says officers see trauma daily and find that most others can’t relate.
“A lot of guys don’t want to go home and talk to the wife,” he said. “They don’t want to bring what they see home to the kids, the families.”
Locally, FOP partners with the Jacksonville Sheriff’s Office for an employee assistance program.
Officers who are FOP members and have post-traumatic stress disorder can receive free counseling and other treatement
Last year, state lawmakers passed legislation to extend benefits for first responders being treated for PTSD.
“We can treat PTSD in terms of giving the officers all of the resources they need,” said Hartley. “Not just the medical help, but now they have access to leave. They can get the treatment that they need.”
© 2019 Cox Media Group.