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Int J Emerg Ment Health. 2009 Winter;11(1):17-23.

Police suicide--a Web surveillance of national data.

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Badge of Life Program, Citrus Heights, CA, USA.


Considerable research has been done on suicide in police work. It appears that the volume of literature on this topic has led to considerable controversy concerning the accuracy and validity of police suicide rates. This topic has given rise to a wide variety of speculative, often wildly exaggerated figures being circulated in the law enforcement community and media, much of which is not based on verifiable research or gathered in an organized, useful manner that can be shared and scrutinized. Such figures have been taken at face value, translated into widely varying rates and profiles that, because they lack any substantiation, do little to help and much to impede the meaningful development of programs that can address the problems of police stress, trauma, posttraumatic stress, suicide, and the promotion of improved general health in the law enforcement community. This paper represents an empirical attempt to gather descriptive police suicide data from all fifty states in the U.S. for one year--2008--and record it in a cohesive manner that may be useful to researchers, police agencies, and program developers.

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