NYPD: Fourth officer dies by suicide in June
Earlier this month, NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill called the recent rash of officer suicides "a mental health crisis"
By John Valenti and Matthew Chayes
NEW YORK — For the fourth time this month, an NYPD officer has committed suicide, this time at a home in Hicksville, an NYPD spokesman said Thursday.
The officer's name was not immediately released. The NYPD said he was 53 years old and had been on the force for 24 years. He was assigned to the 50th Precinct in the Bronx, according to the spokesman.
Speaking to reporters Thursday afternoon, NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan urged officers not to shy away from seeking help if they feel they need it — and that the topic shouldn't be a taboo.
"This is the fourth [suicide] that we've had recently, sixth one this year," he said. "We have to be willing to talk … and more importantly we have to be willing to listen."
Monahan said that every day, NYPD officers save the lives of strangers.
"We have to figure out a way how we can save our own lives," he said.
Earlier this month, NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill called the recent rash of officer suicides "a mental health crisis." His remarks, made in a statement on June 14, came after a 29-year-old officer took his own life near Staten Island's 121st Precinct.
That officer's death was the third recorded suicide of an NYPD cop in June. On June 5, Assistant Chief Steven Silks of Queens North Borough Command took his own life in his department car. A day later, Brooklyn Det. Joseph Calabrese, a married father of four, killed himself in a parking area off the Belt Parkway, police said.
"This is a mental-health crisis," O'Neill said at the time. "And we — the NYPD and the law enforcement profession as a whole — absolutely must take action. This cannot be allowed to continue."
In his statement, O'Neill also cited resources that NYPD employees can call to get help for themselves or, confidentially, for someone else.
"There is no shame in seeking assistance from the many resources available, both inside and outside the department," the commissioner said. "Accepting help is never a sign of weakness — in fact, it’s a sign of great strength."
The resources included in O'Neill's statement are the Employee Assistance Unit, 646-610-6730, the Chaplains Unit, 212-473-2363, and Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance, 888-267-7267.
"Cops spend so much of their days assisting others," O'Neill said. "But before we can help the people we serve, it is imperative that we first help ourselves."