The epidemic of police suicide is growing… and the law enforcement community needs help before it gets any worse.
Police in Orange County, Florida are grieving after discovering the body of Sgt. Kelly Jo Brubaker, 49, after she reportedly took her own life on a beach on Tuesday.
Officials say that the veteran sergeant went to the SunSplash Park about 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday evening and used a handgun to shoot and kill herself.
The Volusia County Sheriff’s Office is handling the investigation into the sergeant’s death, saying that they had originally been alerted that an off-duty officer had possibly committed suicide on the beach.
When they responded to the scene, FHN reported that officials discovered Brubaker’s body floating in the water near 515 S. Atlantic Ave.
Investigators refused to comment on whether the 12-year veteran of the force had used her service weapon in her final act.
Her colleagues and friends are trying to figure out what led Brubaker to take her own life.
“She was a very happy person, always laughing with everyone here at the department,” said Orange City police Lt. Jason Samspell. “There was no indication that she had any type of illness or stress. We are all shocked by her death.”
It is with deep regret and a heavy heart that we announce the unexpected passing of one of our police officers Sergeant Kelly Jo Brubaker. Please keep her family and all the members of the Orange City Police in your prayers as we grieve this most unfortunate loss. pic.twitter.com/uIP2xs3mNQ
— City of Orange City (@orangecityfl) November 20, 2019
Wayne Miller, Orange City Police Department’s deputy chief of police, also commented on the tragic loss of one of their own.
“She was an asset to the police department and served in her position with honor and distinction,” Miller said. “Additionally, Kelly was an adjunct instructor for Daytona State College instructing other law enforcement personnel.”
Brubaker had previously served as a dispatcher and patrol officer and was loved by all she worked with.
“She was a very kind and compassionate woman… She touched the lives of every person she met and will be deeply missed by her family, friends, and community.”
Police suicides have been on the rise for years as officers are denied the help that they desperately need due to the horrors witnessed on the job and the hate directed toward them for simply wearing the badge.
“The men and women of the Orange City Police Department are stunned by the unexpected death of our dear friend and co-worker Sergeant Kelly Brubaker,” Miller said. “Kelly was very well liked and respected as a knowledgeable and experienced police officer.”
The department asked for prayers during this difficult time.
“Please keep Kelly Jo, her family and all the members of the Orange City Police and law enforcement community in your prayers as we grieve this most unfortunate loss,” Miller said.
So far this year, 201 reports of officer suicide have been confirmed by Bluehelp.org, with 29 of those as retired officials.
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The non-profit notes that in 2018, 92 officers took their own lives. And unless we do more as a community and as a nation to help… it will only get worse.
Two weeks ago, an NYPD officer who was about to end it all was saved by a traffic stop.
The New York Post said that he put a gun in his mouth and nearly pulled the trigger after he was stopped on Long Island for a traffic violation.
Long Island officers were able to convince the despondent cop to put the weapon down before they called for backup, police sources told The Post.
“They had to talk him out of it,” one police source said.
The officer, who is in his 30s and was on his way into work at a Brooklyn precinct, but was not in uniform, was taken to Nassau University Medical Center.
The NYPD is facing a mental health emergency with 10 officer suicides this year — a rate already more than double what it was in previous years. Experts have blamed the deaths, in-part, on an anti-cop sentiment that swelled in the wake of Eric Garner’s 2014 death.
“The abuse they have to put up with is taking a toll,” John Petrullo, director of the Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance, previously told The Post.
This abuse was most recently demonstrated when more than 1,000 people swarmed the streets of Brooklyn and the New York subway system to protest the police.
Protests in NYC be like 🗣🗣😂😂😂 https://t.co/zsHa1zPhvf
— Lovemadona (@Lovemadona1) November 3, 2019
Protestors held signs that read “Fuck the police!” and “Punch that cop.” A widely published social media and news story showed a police cruiser being vandalized with random trash and cardboard boxes.
I'm leaving the tweets up because BLM organizers were involved in the event. BLM has a loose structure and this event is part of the broader BLM movement. pic.twitter.com/fsWTNGfXdK
— barely informed with elad 🕵🏻♂️ (@elaadeliahu) November 2, 2019
US Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D, NY) supported the protestors through several statements on Facebook and Twitter but twisted their protest into one of more an economical issue, stopping short of supporting violence against police.
Ending mass incarceration means challenging a system that jails the poor to free the rich.
Arresting people who can’t afford a $2.75 fare makes no one safer and destabilizes our community.
New Yorkers know that, they’re not having it, and they’re standing up for each other. https://t.co/asvidIe5zV
— Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (@AOC) November 2, 2019
Police suicide has been a rising epidemic in nearly every area of our country, but as aforementioned, New York has seen the most visible number of police officers taking their lives or at least attempting.
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.
Straight from @decolonize_this
— rafael (@rafaelshimunov) November 2, 2019
These same law enforcement leaders have also pointed to this sentiment as the chief hurdle in recruiting and retaining officers and deputies.
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