Law Enforcement Suicide Statistics
Data is based on 460 known suicides from January 1, 2016 through December 31, 2018. The data is fluid, as more suicides are reported, our numbers change. In one instance, it was reported months later that the suicide was a homicide so it was removed.
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Method of Death
- Most of our submissions were submitted by family, co-workers and friends through this online submission form. The form was published regularly on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and Google+; the total followers of all the social media pages that shared our suicide submission form is over 10 million. It was also included in the content of multiple articles written for various on-line publications in both years.
- Each January, we searched the internet for any that we may have missed using 50 keyword searches such as “officer kills self”, “cop suicide”, etc.
- Each January, an e-mail was sent to the chief, deputy chief and administrative assistant in 3 major cities and 20 smaller cities/towns in each state for a total of 1,150 police departments. The same e-mail was sent to 3 corrections facilities in each state for a total of 150 facilities. These e-mails requested data on any suicides that occurred in the previous year. ~77% responded.
- Every 3 months e-mails were also sent to 163 organizations in the US that support first responders asking them to report what they know.
- Attendance at national and regional law enforcement conferences as guests and speakers also promoted our data collection.
- We contacted the department of public health in 5 states and none were able to provide much information so we abandoned this method.
- Our data is a raw number of confirmed suicides, there are no assumptions made.
- Some information remains “unknown” as the families are only willing to provide basic information, we have been asked not to contact the family for follow up or, there is no contact information listed when the information is only partially submitted.
We do not record “how they heard about us” so we cannot say which method worked best. We did receive multiple submissions on many of the suicides so we know that we were reaching more than one person in certain regions.
We also believe that there are more suicides that have not been reported and plan to continue to collect data indefinitely.
When we began data collection in 2016, we would receive notification of the suicides weeks, and sometimes months, afterward. As of February 9, 2019, 90% of the suicides we receive are within hours of the deaths.
Data collection points are as follows and can be seen on our form:
|Gender||Manner of Death|
|Date of Death||Name of Department|
|Age at time of death||Duty Status|
|Years of Service||Year left force|
|Rank||Had the officer sought help?|
|Off/ On Duty||Was there a history of job related PTSD?|
|Military Veteran||Were there prior suicide attempts?|
|Marital Status||Was the officer under investigation at the time of death?|
|Children?||Was it a murder/suicide?|
|# of Children|
We look forward to providing you with more data and continuing to collect this information. Please record any information you may have on our website to ensure we have not missed any deaths.
We are happy to provide more information upon request to firstname.lastname@example.org