Public Advocate Searching For Solutions After Shocking Number Of NYPD Suicides

Rich Lamb
August 27, 2019 - 6:46 pm
Jumaane Williams - Getty

Photo by Mark Sagliocco/Getty Images

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NEW YORK (WCBS 880)Nine recent suicides in the New York City Police Department has Public Advocate Jumaane Williams seeking out solutions.

After meeting with representatives of police fraternal organizations on Tuesday, Williams addressed reporters with some possible reasons why officers’ fears are standing in the way of getting mental health help.

“If you do ask for help, the punitive nature of what happens after that is a problem,” he said. “You can be put aside in a room where people who are brought up on disciplinary charges go. You can be looked a certain way just asking for help. Your career advancement could be severely stymied. At worst you can be psyched out.”

Two weeks ago, a veteran NYPD officer died by suicide in his home in Queens. He was the second officer in just one week to kill himself, the seventh since June and the ninth in 2019.

Immediately following his death, the NYPD sprang into action to find solutions to the “mental health crisis.”

“To my fellow police officers, this is our crisis. We need to have a conversation in every locker room, every station house and every RMP about what happens after we kill ourselves, after we make that decision,” said Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Pat Lynch.

Earlier this summer, Commissioner James O'Neill had talked about the intense pressures of the job.

"This is an extremely difficult job. It's not an ordinary job. People face a lot of stresses. They are exposed to a lot of trauma," he said.

On Tuesday, Williams acknowledged that his office does not have any solutions yet, but said all of the fraternal organizations agree the surest way cops will seek help is if they can do it with anonymity.