A 28-year-old police officer from Columbia, South Carolina took his own life July 28th.
According to The State article, Senior Deputy Derek Fish was found in his patrol car behind the station that evening. He had been on the force for six years, and had just been promoted, leaving many to wonder why he took his own life.
According to the FBI, the number of officers who take their own life is twice the number of those killed by felons.
Officer.com, a resource and information web site for officers, states that 108 officers took their own lives just in 2016. Although it is a decrease compared to previous years, it’s still an alarming number.
Many civilians understand that police have a difficult job and deal with events that you and I can only imagine; all police departments have counselors and therapists to help deal with these incidences, but what happens when an officer doesn’t think he/she needs help? What if they’re ashamed? What if they think their feelings are too insignificant to address?
This is where public awareness comes into play. Education is one of the many ways in which the Law Enforcement Charitable Organization strengthens the bond between police and their community. We need to understand what they deal with every day; we need to understand that it doesn’t require a “traumatic” event for an officer to feel depressed or anxious. And we need the officers to know that we care about them, we want to understand them, and we’re here for them.