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During the year 2010, reports the Badge of Life Police Suicide Prevention Group, there were 145 police suicides in the United States, a slight increase over 2009, during which there were 143. The suicide rate for police officers remains 17/100,000, compared to the general population's rate of 11/100,000 and 20/100,000 for the Army. In terms of other results, it appears that officers in the age category 40 – 44 years were at a higher risk for suicide, with 27% of all suicides found in this age group. This was a slight shift “upwards” from the previous year (age group 35 – 39). There was a similar shift up in the years of service, from the group 10 – 14 during 2008 to 20 years and above. Officers with less than ten years on the job continued to share a disproportionate portion of the suicides (17 percent).
There is no easy or full proof way to identify which officers are most at risk for taking their own lives. Every officer has his or her breaking point. The stresses of daily life, coupled with stresses from tragic/critical events, can push a police officer to end his/her life. Recognizing the signs and symptoms of stress and depression before an officer reaches that breaking point is essential. The top predictors for suicide for anyone are: a diagnostic mental disorder, alcohol or substance use, loss of social or family support, and the availability and access to a firearm. 90% of officers commit suicide using a gun. Additionally, about 90% of the time, an officer is drinking heavily when he/she kills himself/herself. Statistically, most officers that commit suicide are white males, working patrol and are entering middle-age. They have experienced a recent loss, real or perceived. Most have no record of misconduct. Most shoot themselves while off duty.
Officer's life is in danger every day; they can never let their guard down; never turn off the adrenaline pump. While officers generally operate well under stress, too much stress may have disastrous outcomes....