After two Chicago police officers took their own lives last week, the Chicago Police Department announced Wednesday it is hiring Alexa James, CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Chicago, as senior adviser of wellness.
In her new role with the department, James will “focus on bolstering a better understanding of mental health and the resources available to members,” and work with CPD brass “to build strategy and implement changes that foster increased awareness and understanding of mental health,” Chicago police said in a statement.
“We are thrilled to be welcoming Alexa James to the Chicago Police Department where she will be working with our officers to foster wellness both within the department and the broader community,” said CPD Supt. David Brown.
“This past year has proved the vital importance mental wellness has in the lives of officers and community members, and we have full confidence that Alexa is the right person to bolster a better understanding of mental health and the resources available to our officers,” Brown told the Sun-Times.
The announcement comes less than a week after 38-year-old Officer Jeffrey Troglia fatally shot himself in the basement of his Mount Greenwood home. Days earlier, another officer, 47-year-old James Daly, killed himself at the Town Hall police station on the North Side.
Following the officers’ deaths — the 9th and 10th suicides in the department since 2018 —Brown said he was asking NAMI Chicago, where James has worked for nine years, to create a comprehensive “officer wellness strategy.”