Suicide leading cause of death among police officers, study says

Help available for law enforcement officers

By Mary Claire Patton - Digital Content Curator

The leading killer of law enforcement officers is suicide.

There were approximately 102 law enforcement officers who committed suicide in 2015, according to a Badge of Life study reported by

Badge of Life studies revealed 126 officer suicides in 2012, 143 suicides in 2009 and 141 officer suicides in 2008.

The 2012 study was broken down further to show more in-depth information about why the number of suicides is so high, and what can be done to help prevent it from happening.

The average age of officers who committed suicide in 2012 was 42, with the average time on the job being approximately 16 years. Firearms were used in 91.5 percent  of police suicides in 2012 according to the Badge of Life study.

The study discovered a high rate of post-traumatic stress disorder, between 15-18 percent, in the officers who committed suicide that year.

PTSD can last months, years or a lifetime. It triggers traumatic memories that cause intense emotional and sometimes physical reactions.

The surviving family members of suicide victims can also be susceptible to PTSD.

"I am a retired Police Sergeant and served for over 25 years. I met and married my husband, also an officer, and we had 2 beautiful children. When they were still little, my husband was working traffic and made a car stop. The end result was that the driver sped off with my husband hanging on to the window of the car for dear life. The driver grabbed his sawed off shotgun and my husband put all 6 rounds from his service revolver into the young man's chest as the vehicle was still speeding down the road.  My husband was always haunted by the look of that man filled with hatred, even with his heart splattered all over the windshield. My husband had no choice but to let go of the car and drop to the ground. The car ran over him and crushed both of his kneecaps. That was the beginning of the end. He suffered PTSD, which was not diagnosed until after his death." This quote was taken from



A 10-year veteran of the San Antonio Police Department was found dead Tuesday of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head inside his marked patrol unit, police officials said. 

Ask for help if you or someone you know is suffering from PTSD or showing signs of emotional instability. There are hotlines that are designated specifically for first responders and law enforcement officers.

Safe Call Now: 206-459-3020
COPLINE: 1-800-267-5463

The family members of public safety employees can also utilize these hotlines.

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