Another officer has fallen, sadly by his own hand.
Alabama – The Mobile Police Department announced last Friday that one of their officers had died from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. The news came after a heavy police presence was seen near a Catholic Social Services building near Florida Street and Emogene Streets earlier in the day, WKRG reported.
Mobile Police Chief Lawrence Battiste issued a statement and spoke with reporters in regards to the incident,
“We are mourning the death of one of our brothers in blue today. Our law enforcement family has lost Officer Justin Carmen early this morning to a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Officer Carmen was 29 years old. He had served with the Mobile Police Department since March 2018. We ask for the community’s prayers and support for Officer Carmen’s family during this time of loss as well as his police family as they come to terms with his sudden death.”
The chief also asked the community for prayers for both the Carmen family as well as the Mobile Police Department during their time of mourning. He also went on to state that the department was not immediately aware whether the officer had family in the Mobile area, but that they had reached out to his mother who lives in the Carolinas with the assistance of authorities from that area.
“We are mourning the death of one of our brothers in blue today. Our law enforcement family has lost Officer Justin Carmen to a self-inflicted gunshot wound. Officer Carmen was 29 years old. He had served w/the Mobile Police Dept since Mar 2018.” – Chief of Police L. Battiste 💙 pic.twitter.com/ZyQCyavXpK
— Only In Mobile (@OnlyInMobile1) December 13, 2019
Chief Battiste said they will investigate what may have led up to Officer Carmen taking his own life by looking into his past as well as what may have recently transpired in his life.
Battiste went on to state that it was a tremendous loss for the department, and any time he interacted with Officer Carmen, he always had a smile on his face.
During the press conference, the chief stressed the importance of supporting his officers and allowing them to talk about the incident and their feelings. He explained he wanted to make sure that his officers were aware that it is alright to feel the feelings of loss and to work through them.
During the almost 5 -minute interview, one reporter remarked that the Mobile Police Department had been dealing with a lot in the past year as they had lost another officer from their department, Sean Tuder, who was shot and killed in the line duty in January. The reporter went on to ask the chief how they are handling the stressors both internally in the department, as well as what the police community has been dealing with nationally.
Chief Battiste explained that it will be all about having conversations and discussing what trauma really is with his officers. He stated that supporting officers and making sure that they know they have a support community to speak about their feelings and dealing with different things they see while working in the community.
He also said that letting his officers know that they have outlets to discuss these things with like chaplains and employee intervention program that are readily available to them.
@MobileALPolice announced that 29-year-old police officer Justin Carmen was found dead in his patrol car from a self-inflicted gunshot wound. If you are a law enforcement officer considering suicide, please talk to someone at @BlueHelpLE https://t.co/3hBQ09IgST
— Eric Clay (@EricSClay) December 17, 2019
The Chief stressed that there should be no stigma attached with an officer seeking help to speak with someone about something they may be struggling with. He went on to explain that the stigma has been around for many years- that if you are in emergency services, specifically law enforcement, you shouldn’t speak about things as a method of coping. He noted that that shouldn’t be the case.
He stated that more needs to be done to support first responders and remove that stigma. He went on to explain to the group of reporters that law enforcement officers are humans stating,
“They feel, they hurt, they see so much at some point they become numb and callous to some of the hurt so they don’t how to express it so we have to work extremely hard to get them to open up about the things that are happening in their lives.”
Closing his statement with a deep breath he thanked the reporters for their time.
Just last week, LET brought you an urgent story regarding police suicides.
It’s easy to sit back and ignore something if it doesn’t directly affect you.
We’re talking about the issue of police suicide — and how with the exception of law enforcement-related blogs and news outlets, it’s a widely unreported topic.
Don’t believe us? Let’s look at some numbers.
2018 became yet another year where police officer suicides exceeded all combined causes of line of duty deaths. According to Blue H.E.L.P., last year we lost 172 members of law enforcement to their own hand.
166 were killed in the line of duty.
California and Texas had the highest number of officer suicides, with a combined 26 who were lost to their own personal battles. At least 12 of those officers killed themselves while they were on duty either in their squad car or actually at their agency.
According to Blue H.E.L.P., of the 2018 officers who died as a result of suicide, 159 were male and eight were female. The average age was 42 years with an average length of 16 years of service.
In December alone, 22 officers died by suicide. In contrast, there were 10 line-of-duty deaths, they noted.
In 2017, 168 officers were killed by their own hand.
In 2016, 143 members of the force committed suicide.
And so far this year, there are now 215 confirmed reports of LEO suicide. We’re already far past the national average and still going.
Are you seeing the problem, here?
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And yet, despite the insane numbers behind these tragic deaths… the national media essentially glances right over it.
While there’s no official record of journalists who have taken their own lives, a quick search through Wikipedia yielded a whopping 67 names of notable members of written news who have committed suicide.
Even without hard data, the difference between the two occupations is staggering. But does one statistic directly correlate with the other?
How many officers have been ripped apart by the media? How many officers have had their credibility, reputation and character destroyed by an article or news story that went out before all the facts had come to light?
How many times has a rumor or “fake news” story gone viral on social media, with users demonizing and publicly crucifying an officer long before an investigation can even be launched?
In a thankless job where you see horrors on a daily basis and it seems that everyone hates you… it’s no wonder cops are losing their personal struggles.
And what happens if a member of an agency decides to actually bring their concerns to the department administration?
Often times they find themselves in an even worse position, forced to work behind a desk and attend mandatory “counseling” that most times does nothing to help.
Despite departments “taking steps” to address the epidemic, we can’t help but feel as though they are merely checking a box in order to alleviate themselves from the blame.
“It is not how they died that mattered, it is how they lived,” is important to bear in mind when thinking about these fallen heroes.
Police suicide has been a rising epidemic in nearly every area of our country, but New York has seen an especially difficult year.
A lot of people are chalking up the increase in loss of officers as a direct result of the anti-police stigma that’s spread across the country.
Many police chiefs and sheriffs, as well as police fraternal organization spokespersons have outlined the “anti-cop” sentiment fueled by politicians and activists as a primary motivator for police suicides.
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