Suicide rates jolt police culture

P-1 Editor's Note --
"The first and foremost aspect that contribues to the mindset of a suicidal officer is that of control," says P-1 contributing expert Jay Quinlan. "Officers are taught to take charge, be in control and make decisions under high levels of stress. They do this on an almost daily basis and develop various coping mechanisms to deal with situations the general public couldn't and don't want to deal with." 

By John Ritter

The warning signs that police officer Steve Martin was a suicide risk were clear enough in hindsight: erratic behavior, disgust with his job, heavy drinking, a strained marriage. But the lack of foresight is what leaves his wife, Debbie, angry more than a year later.

"When officers came and told me what had happened — and I have a roomful of witnesses to this — they said, 'We knew he was in serious trouble,'" she says. "I remember thinking, OK, so why didn't you do anything about it? How can you sit there and tell me after he put a gun to his head that you knew he was bad off?"

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