The suicides of two Washington, DC-area officers brought national attention on a troubling and often hidden issue: Police officers die by their own hands at rates greater than people in other occupations, according to a report compiled by the Police Executive Research Forum in 2019, after at least nine New York City police officers died by suicide that year. That report said officer suicides outpace deaths of law enforcement members killed in shootings and vehicular crashes.
Since George Floyd’s death in Minneapolis and the volatile demonstrations that followed in cities across the country, “the occupation has been under tremendous scrutiny by the public,” John Violanti, a research professor at the University of Buffalo School of Public Health and Health Professions told the Washington Post.
“I think that officers are suffering from this,” said Violanti, who studies suicides by police officers. “There’s a feeling of a huge lack of support, not only from the public but from administrations.”
Even before the Capitol riot, police officers in the District were exhausted after months of sustained demonstrations and riots from left-wing and right-wing factions.