Sept. 20, 2018
At an LAPD event marking Suicide Prevention Month, new police chief Michel Moore opens up about the deadly threat facing officers away from the streets
LAPD Chief Michel Moore hugs Melissa Swailes, whose husband David committed suicide in 2016 after nearly 10 years on the force. (VICTOR ALEMÁN/ANGELUS)
“We pride ourselves at the Los Angeles Police Department in being a family, but sometimes we don’t take care of each other like a family,” Los Angeles Police Department Chief Michel Moore told fellow officers, civilian support staffers, and their families.
It was a little after 9 a.m., the cloudy haze almost burnt off on this September 9 Sunday morning at the department’s police academy in Elysian Park.
The city’s new chief of police and other speakers were on a raised black stage on the track ringing a grassy infield. And they were speaking before the start of “Heart of the LAPD Walk: We Stand Together,” a 5K walk in the name of suicide awareness and prevention.
“And yet we know we don’t. We train, act, and live as a team. No one fights alone. But yet why has it been in the last 20 years we’ve lost 16 officers in the line of duty but 36 to suicide?
“We have such an aversion at times asking for a backup because of what we just saw or something we’re experiencing here in the department or at home. We’ve got to talk about this as uncomfortable as some may feel. But we can do better. And I know we can,” he said.
Being a police officer in the U.S. is indeed a dangerous occupation. Last year, 129 died in the line of duty. Many more were seriously injured and disabled for life.
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