Another officer lost by their own hand: facing the demons they plant in us
Let me start this by clarifying that this piece will not be edited in any way, shape or form.
You’re getting it as it comes out for a reason: to me there is no time to edit. I’m putting this out with the hopes of saving someone’s life.
In our culture, when a brother or sister falls, we run… and any and all stumbles or hits we take getting to them are ignored, even at our own peril to get to their side. On our team nobody fights alone, no matter the fight, no matter the enemy.
As a retired detective from the NYPD, I have had my fair share of burden. I faced the devil in the eyes, fought for my life and had demons lay residence in my head. I have struggled, fought back thoughts and began my way down that one way road to ultimately back out with a purpose.
Our enemy is not the one we engage, it’s not the horror we see, but rather the demons they plant in us. Indeed, it’s often our own brass and the elected politicians that govern them that are our greatest threat. Placing countless obstacles in our way to prevent us from being able to get the help we so desperately need and deserve while spewing half-truths and false tales for the public.
Police suicide is by many considered a growing trend, but the truth is, it’s not.
It’s just now getting the attention that it deserves, and for that, I’m grateful. For sometime now, many had been classified as accidents for one reason or another, but this only masked the problem we all knew was there. Social media posts and articles by administrators begging officers to step forward and ask for help get a ton of ‘likes’ by the clueless public, so eager to place a heart on a post as if it somehow helps, as if that is going to stop someone from making a bullet shatter their skull and free the demons raging inside.
I’ve been shot at too many times. I know the sound a small calibre round flying by your head. I’ve had someone pull a knife on me on a routine car stop and attempt to bury it in my stomach because they didn’t want to get deported. I rushed a dying 2-month-old to the hospital with my partner fully engaged in CPR in the back seat. I’ve heard the sound of two officers down and raced to the scene, 100mph in rush hour traffic on and off city sidewalks. I’ve held the hand of a scared teenager as she took her last breath and calmed a terrified child as I worked on his father in the middle of the diner I was eating at when his heart stopped. While that last one turned out great and is probably one of my greatest memories, I still can see this young boy crying, biting his nails and saying, “Daddy!” over and over again. I was an active part of a BS call when the building blew up and collapsed, on a Father’s Day, trapping three firefighters and ultimately claiming their lives.
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As officers, we sign our lives over as blank checks to those we are charged and sworn to protect. Our salary and pension are certainly not enough to cover that cost for our families and friends when our check gets cashed. We become a pawn for the politicians to further their poll rankings and their agenda and it is here where we are akin to our military brothers and sisters.
What we need is a system that works and does not leave us further stigmatized.
Commissioner O’Neill, while you are the figurehead of the department of which I once served and forever love, it is with great respect that I ask you to please shut up! Your boiler plate response to the passing of our brothers and sisters is sickening.
I, for one, would rather you simply stand up, regain that intestinal fortitude you once had and stand with us. Or, better yet, stand in front of us and lead the charge to change things. Our department has made great strides to attempt to help those struggling, however, you use them as mouse traps on the troubled.
When an officer reaches out for help he is basically sticking his neck in your mousetrap, killing his livelihood- a death sentence. Officers transferred to the rubber gun squad for eternity because you feel that broken means it can never be fixed.
It’s time we fix this.