After Officer Suicides Double, NYPD Searches For Solutions | NBC News NOW

Channel: NBC News
Published: 6 hours ago

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A staggering number of suicides rocked the New York City Police Department in 2019, with 10 active duty officers taking their own lives - more than double the number of previous years. NBC News’ Alexa Liautaud speaks to NYPD officers and family members affected by this crisis. » Subscribe to NBC...



Transcript
I begged them i drove there. I wrote to them. I literally was hysterically, crying begging them to get my brother help and in the end i got i'm sorry mylene echeverria. My brother was robert at you've area d, ninth nypd officer - to commit suicide this year. Yet another officer dies by suicide. The second leading nypd official had shot himself in as many days the department's fifth officer to die ...
y suicide, a seventh within the department since the beginning of june, the department's tenth suicide this year between three and six active duty, nypd officers, have died by suicide every Year for the last three years, but in 2019 that number doubled the rash of suicides, inthe nypd has tormented the department police officers around the country are now more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty. But what causes the problem and further? What to do about it remains unanswered. He always wanted to be a cop. He really loved that job in the beginning. When did you first start to notice a difference in your brother in 2012? He was having a lot of issues. That was the first time i contacted i abhi. I noticed he was different.

Iab stands for the nypd's internal affairs bureau, with whom eileen would go on to communicate with regularly as her brother's behavior got worse, and then this year in march, whenhe bought me his son to take care of. I saw my brother crying and i was like bobby he's like i feel, like i'm failing at life, and i said bobby why you're not failing at life, you have a difficult situation. You have a difficult job, it's okay and then um sorry and then things started to unravel in june. I noticed my brother was completely gone. He called me and i could he he said to me: i'm gon na kill myself and i said bobby. No, no, no! No, i said bobby, please please just talk to me. Don'T do this to our mother, don't do it to me and most of all, don't do it. Tochildren [ music, ] pauline says she's reached out to iab and told them everything about bobbi's struggles, his finances, his marriage. She put it all in an email once they got the email, they call you within 10 minutes. I he called me we're waiting his house tonight. I'M gon na take wallis gonzaga. Thank you.

I want you to get him help within days. I get a call from a lieutenant. I was at work. I remember crying my coworkers. Why? What'S the matter? I said they gave my brother, his guns back, i go. How could they have done an evaluation that quickly when i hung up with that lieutenant? I said to him when my brother kills himself ihope you're there, because the bloods on you bobby at chavarria, died on august 14th by self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head. He left two kids, a wife, a sister and multiple communities, each with their own perspective on what a solution might be. I sat down with inspector walker, the head of the nypd's new mental health and wellness section. One suicide is horrific for this department. It'S a tragedy and that's why we're trying to come up with new programs to kind of stem this tide. The nypd has implemented a series of reforms in the last several months, including establishing a new peer-to-peer counseling service. When you talk about some of the peer support programs within thenypd, how are those different from the newly-formed peer support program that is taking volunteers and his training and my pd officers right now? This new peer support program, we're starting, is similar to the neighborhood policing philosophy, where we're putting offices and civilians in each command and they're going through a very extensive 3-day course.

We were teaching on the warning signs of stress, depression, suicides, deena and mike are both officers in the program they're on the front lines of this new effort day-to-day they work in separate units, but both just completed three days of training to become peer advocates after i Graduated there was a guy in my company who i went through the academy withwho we lost to suicide. It just made me as a person want to get involved and do something, especially with the rash of suicides that unfortunately happened over the summer. There is a lot of stress that a police officer goes to want a regular basis, and they should know that it's okay to talk about what they're feeling what they're going through and they don't have to go through it alone. The hardest part is gon na be to fight the stigma. I just want the officers to understand that we're not looking to give out disciplinary action. This is soy to help them and to help them get better. Richard levinson is a psychologist who has worked. Withlaw enforcement for over 20 years, he says this stigma comes from a fear of having their badge gun and arguably their identity taken away in the old days, they referred to a police officer who had mental health issues as being a member of the rubber gun squad. They literally took their shield and they're gone away from them and they gave them a rubber gun in the early days and that's the identity of any officer. I mean if someone says to you, i'm a police officers that you say well prove it first thing they do is take out their shields. The public acknowledges our shield as a symbol of authority. Do you think that that officersare more likely to seek that mental health help from a colleague appear rather than outside help? I think that is yes, but i also think that they have to have enough to perceive that someone in their environment is approachable.

How do you reassure your colleagues that the help that they are getting is confidential, that they can that they can speak? You know knowing that that it's not going anywhere else, i'm not going telling anyone i'm telling their partner, i'm not telling the the executives. The sergeant is staying between us to still the peer support has yet to deliver answers on the. Why and yet more families than ever this year are left behind still searchingfor answers, i'm trying to work with them and say: listen. We need to do something. I had a meeting with the nypd at one police plaza. I buried my brother two days before that and - and they were downright nasty to me when i called them out on how many people have reached out to me how many letters i've gotten from wives, from officers still on the job that have begged me. I said to them: i will never betray you, i will never say her name, not your first name, not your last name, not your initials that there they need help. They need a lot of programs. A phone number, a peer advocate, not gon na workthey. Tell me it's working really, i buried my brother two days ago. How well is it working nypd would not comment directly on eileen's claims about her brother's case. We also tried reaching out to officer etcheverry his wife and did not hear back hey nbc news viewers, thanks for checking out our youtube channel subscribe by clicking on that button down here and click on any of the videos over here to watch.

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