A 25-year NYPD veteran became the latest victim of the department’s suicide epidemic on Thursday.
The officer, whose name has not yet been released, was found dead Thursday in his Queens home with a self-inflicted gunshot wound, UPI reported.
The death came just a day after another officer took his own life in Yonkers, according to News 12 Westchester. But while these cases are sad, they’re far from unique.
Nine New York City police officers have killed themselves so far this year, more than double the number lost in all of 2018. In response, NYPD Commissioner James O’Neil is promoting anti-suicide initiatives.
One of them is a smartphone app that will put officers in touch with mental health services, something O’Neil described in a radio interview last week.
“Press on that app and it’ll give you everything you need to know where help is, and most importantly, what the signs of suicide are,” O’Neil said. He went on to “urge every member of the department, when it appears on your phone, [to] take a look at it.”
Other measures by the NYPD include working with a mental health facility that officers can contact anonymously for assistance.
“No one is going to know you’re doing it,” the commissioner promised. “It’s a road to being healthy and well again and it’s a road to get you back to what you came on this job for.”
It’s not clear why more NYPD officers are committing suicide, but the force has faced increased hostilities in recent years.
A man murdered two cops in 2014, citing revenge for Michael Brown as part of his motive. At the funeral for one, officers turned their backs on Mayor Bill de Blasio, with many feeling that de Blasio didn’t support law enforcement.
The same thing happened when another officer was killed three years later. De Blasio announced that he would be leaving to join left-wing protesters in Germany after the funeral, according to the New York Daily News, something that Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association head Patrick Lynch reportedly wasn’t impressed by.
“The mayor is the compass for the City of New York,” Lynch said. “And unfortunately, when a police officer got killed, his compass led him to Germany rather than here on the Grand Concourse. He should have been here with the family… He should have been there with us.”
The problems haven’t stopped there. This summer, multiple officers have been doused with water, hit with buckets, and subjected to verbal abuse. A bill has been proposed in the state legislature to make dousing officers a felony, but it faces opposition from Democrats, Fox News reports.