NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – The disturbing mental health crisis in the NYPD claimed two more lives this week.
According to reports, an off-duty officer fatally shot himself at his Long Island home on Wednesday. The 53-year-old was reportedly outside of his Nassau County house while a large family gathering was going on inside.
The officer, who was longtime member of the 50th Precinct in the Bronx, was reportedly just three days away from his 25th anniversary with the department – a retirement milestone for many NYPD officers.
The 53-year-old married father of three is the fourth active-duty cop to kill himself in the month of June.
On June 5, a deputy chief killed himself outside of his Queens home. The 62-year-old decorated officer was just weeks away from reaching the NYPD’s mandatory retirement age when he took his own life.
The next day, a 58-year-old detective was found dead after a desperate search for the officer broke out when his empty car was found on the Belt Parkway in Brooklyn. NYPD officials said he was an “experienced detective” who had also served for many years.
A week later on June 14, a 29-year-old officer killed himself outside the 121st Precinct on Staten Island. The officer had only been with the department of six years at the time of his death.
Multiple reports have also revealed that the NYPD suffered yet another loss on Monday – this time it was an officer who had recently retired.
The 51-year-old former NYPD veteran reportedly hung himself last weekend and was discovered Monday inside his Queens home. The retired cop had reportedly served with the NYPD for over 10 years before retiring in 2017 and had worked in the department’s Housing Bureau.
“We cannot hide from this incredibly important discussion. We must not pretend that these things don’t happen, or that such tragic deaths are somehow a fact of life. Importantly, we cannot sit idly by and just pray that they don’t happen again. We have to take action now,” NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill said in a statement on June 6.
After the June 14 fatal shooting, the commissioner quickly responded, saying “this is a mental-health crisis.”
“Cops spend so much of their days assisting others. But before we can help the people we serve, it is imperative that we first help ourselves. There is no shame in seeking assistance from the many resources available,” O’Neill added.
The NYPD also listed the following resources for officers in need of help.
- Employee Assistance Unit: 646-610-6730
- Chaplains Unit: 212-473-2363
- POPPA (independent from the NYPD): 888-267-7267
- NYC WELL: Text, call, & chat www.nyc.gov/nycwell
- Lifeline: 800-273-TALK (8255)
- Crisis Text Line: Law enforcement officers can text BLUE to 741741 (non-law enforcement can text TALK to 741741)
- Call 911 for emergencies