This guide assists law enforcement leaders and officers in examining and developing policies and practices in preventing and responding to officer suicide.
This guide advises that although suicide prevention has high priority for an agency, agencies must be prepared with tools to respond effectively should an officer suicide occur. In addition to the officer’s family, an officer suicide affects the entire department, including other officers and agency operations. Having a protocol in place to guide a response to an officer suicide can help minimize stress for loved ones of the officer, colleagues, and the whole agency. This guide was developed by federal Bureau of Justice Assistance’s (BJA’s) National Suicide Awareness for Law Enforcement Officers (SAFLEO) Program and funded under the Officer Robert Wilson III Preventing Violence Against Law Enforcement Officers and Ensuring Officer Resilience and Survivability (VALOR) Initiative. This guide provides resources and best practices for responding to an officer suicide. It contains information needed to develop an action plan that includes the initial response to the scene of the suicide, the notification process, and funeral planning, as well as short- and long-term support to the officer’s family and agency staff. Among the support services for which guidance is provided are professional medical assistance, long-term follow-up with the officer’s family and other officers, and remembering significant dates. The guide discusses treatment for posttraumatic stress disorder and other psychological needs in the aftermath of an officer suicide. Sample forms and policies are appended. 16 references