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National first responder suicide rates on the rise

Posted at 7:04 PM, Dec 04, 2019
and last updated 2019-12-04 20:04:10-05

LACY LAKEVIEW, TX — An alarming statistic by bluehelp.org found that law enforcement suicide rates are on the rise nationwide.

Now members of the Lacy Lakeview Police Department are making sure they take care of their own.

"You know, we can't help those that need help if we can't help each other first. It seems to be running constant that we lose more officers to suicide than we do in line of duty death," said Lacey Lakeview Police Chief John Truehitt.

"A lot of these officers will respond to motor vehicle crashes, maybe a small child that may be the same age as their child," he continued.

The department has a peer support program where officers are able to talk to other officers about difficult situations.

"Your peers are the ones you're around more. They're gonna be the person that you turn to. They know what you deal with every day, more than anyone else every day," said Lacy Lakeview Police Detective Kevin Carter.

According to bluehelp.org, to date in 2019, there have been 212 verified law enforcement suicides. That's a 23% increase from 2018.

Bluehelp.og says last year, Texas tied with California on having the largest number of officer suicides, as officers deal with PTSD and other traumatic situations.

"We gotta talk to each other. We gotta get the lines of communications going," said Chief Truehitt

He hopes other departments will join in on the conversation before it's too late.

"To tell a parent or to have a loved one who has committed suicide is very tragic, and i wish we could stop it," he said.

Lacy Lakeview officers are undergoing training so they can assist officers in other departments who may need help.

Chief Truehitt also says if you see an officer on the street, a simple hello can go a long way.