Police Suicide: Tactics for Prevention

Police Suicide: Tactics for Prevention

Larry R. Moore

Police Suicide: Tactics for Prevention by Dell P. Hackett and John M. Violanti, Charles C. Thomas Publisher, Springfield, Illinois, 2003.

The information, issues, and concepts presented in Police Suicide: Tactics for Prevention deserve serious consideration in the advancement of law enforcement suicide prevention and reduction. The book was researched and written by leading experts in their fields of law enforcement, pathology, psychiatry, and other behavioral sciences, along with consultants connected to law enforcement.

Studies have documented that within a specific time frame, some law enforcement agencies have had more officer deaths from suicide than from line-of-duty homicides. In some situations, this rate is higher than in other employment areas, as well as the general population of the United States. The authors of this book addressed in-depth the law enforcement teaching and working culture, ranging from entry into the academy to executive-level administration of the department. They examined the supervisor’s role in detection and prevention of suicide and organizational denial of the suicide dilemma, as well as concerns of family members and survivors of the victim officer, including the who, what, when, where, how, and why of confidential help, or lack thereof, from professionals.

The purpose of this well-researched book is to get the reader much closer to the detection of law enforcement personnel in low- to high-risk crisis postures who may commit self-harm coupled with sound strategies and tactics for prevention for all departments. Three strong points emerge from the book besides its overall comprehensiveness. First, an outstanding modified flowchart depicts a model for suicide prevention with initial and ending protocol actions involving the officer’s family. Second, results from a National Police Suicide Foundation’s officer survey revealed 10 reasons why officers commit suicide. Within this point, the authors also identify a startling potential phenomena coined “suicide by suspect.” This involves officers deliberately failing to initiate a defensive action against a life-threatening situation as an honorable way out of their depressed state of mind. The third point entails information on a training module, Gatekeeper, that focuses on officers in a crisis situation using the technique of questioning, persuading, and referring as preventive measures to suicide incidents.

Police Suicide: Tactics for Prevention is a must read for all law enforcement personnel, ranging from the basic recruit in the academy to the top echelons of command, including staff supervisors, managers, administrators, and commissioners. It is a critical book for the policy and procedures writers, in-service training and assessment center representatives, psychological testing personnel, correctional members, chaplains, and all first responders in the community.

This book is an exemplary research effort in the field of law enforcement designed to reverse the thinking that may lead to life-ending decisions. Information in this book is essential to the advancement of law enforcement suicide prevention. It surfaces the hidden psychological dangers common to law enforcement officers involving job stress and their roles in society.

Reviewed by Larry R. Moore

Certified Emergency Manager International Association of Emergency Managers Knoxville, Tennessee

COPYRIGHT 2004 Federal Bureau of Investigation

COPYRIGHT 2004 Gale Group