NYPD officers' suicides prompt top cop to cite 'mental health crisis'
[Editor's note: This story discusses suicide. If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).]
The commissioner of the country's largest police force said the department has a "crisis" on its hands after three officers killed themselves in 10 days.
New York Police Commissioner James O'Neill described the situation Friday as a "mental-health crisis," and said that law enforcement as a whole "must take action."
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His remarks followed the death of Officer Michael Caddy, 29. The officer killed himself around 3:50 p.m. on Friday outside of the Staten Island precinct where he worked.
Caddy, a six-year veteran of the force, used a gun to shoot himself inside of a car, the Daily News reported. He was going through a divorce, and leaves behind his wife and a young child.
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Deputy Chief Steven Silks, a 39-year NYPD veteran who was described by O'Neill as "one of the most capable and dependable cops this profession has ever seen," was found dead in Queens on June 5 from a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
The following day, the body of Detective Joseph Calabrese, 58, was found in Brooklyn. Chief of Department Terence Monahan said Calabrese "kept New Yorkers safe for nearly 4 decades."
The suicides, the police commissioner said, "cannot be allowed to continue."
"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," he said, urging those who might need help to seek mental health assistance. "Accepting help is never a sign of weakness — in fact, it's a sign of great strength."
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Mayor Bill de Blasio shared similar sentiments, urging members of the NYPD to "reach out" for help in times of need.
According to Blue H.E.L.P., a non-profit organization that tracks law enforcement suicides, at least 91 police officers have killed themselves in 2019. Over the course of the last decade, 48 NYPD officers have committed suicide, The New York Times reported.