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Fourth NYPD officer dies by suicide in June

NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill calls for action to address a "mental-health crisis" after a spate of suicide deaths, including a 53-year-old officer from Long Island.

The NYPD announced that four officers have died

The NYPD announced that four officers have died by suicide since the start of June. Photo Credit: Rajvi Desai

For the fourth time this month an NYPD officer has committed suicide, this time at a home in Hicksville, Long Island, an NYPD spokesman said late Thursday morning.

The officer's name was not immediately disclosed. The NYPD said he was 53 years old and had been on the force for 24 years. He was assigned to the 50th Precinct in the Bronx, according to the spokesman.

Speaking to reporters Thursday afternoon, Chief of Department Terence Monahan urged officers not to shy away from seeking help if they feel they need it — and that the topic shouldn't be a taboo. 

"This is the fourth one that we've had recently,  sixth one this year," he said, adding: "We have to be willing to talk … and more importantly we have to be willing to listen."

"Cops run in day in and day out and save people's lives that they don't know. We have to figure out a way how we can save our own lives," he said. 

Earlier this month NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill called the recent rash of officer suicides "a mental health crisis." His remarks, made in a statement on June 14, came after a 29-year-old officer on Staten Island took his own life near the 121st Precinct.

That death was the third recorded suicide of an NYPD officer in June. On June 5, Assistant Chief Steven Silks of Queens North Borough Command took his own life in his department car. A day later, Brooklyn Det. Joseph Calabrese, a married father of four, killed himself in a parking area off the Belt Parkway, police said.

"This is a mental-health crisis," O'Neill said. "And we — the NYPD and the law enforcement profession as a whole — absolutely must take action. This cannot be allowed to continue."

In his statement on June 14, O'Neill cited resources where NYPD employees can call to get help for themselves or, confidentially, for someone else. "There is no shame in seeking assistance from the many resources available, both inside and outside the department. Accepting help is never a sign of weakness — in fact, it’s a sign of great strength," he said.

The resources included in O'Neill's statement are the Employee Assistance Unit at 646-610-6730, the Chaplains Unit at 212-473-2363 and Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance at 888-267-7267. 

"Cops spend so much of their days assisting others," O'Neill said. "But before we can help the people we serve, it is imperative that we first help ourselves."

With Anthony M. Destefano and Kristopher J. Brooks

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