In the recent past, there have been a number of cases involving police suicide. These have brought alarm to the nation as the same people delegated with the duty of safe guarding life are now turning against their own self. It’s believed that the number of officers who die from suicide in the US surpass the number of those who die in the line of duty. In most of the cases, the cause of death is not revealed to the people to protect the victim’s family and friends.
This research paper intends to seek the main causes of police officers suicide. It contains a sample of research questions it intends to answer plus their hypothetical responses. It also contains literature on previous findings.
In addition it contains the methods used in data analyses as well as the possible out comes of the research.
Statement of the problem
Basing on the fact that, there figures from the police department showing that their colleagues do commit suicide, its evident that these is a problem that needs to be addressed before this situation runs out of proportion. It’s from this factor of admission that the research paper seeks to identify the possible causes of rise in the rate of police sources.
In order to get the relevant information to this research, several questions could be formulated which if answered correctly would provide answers and information to aid in writing this report.
• Under what situations do police commit suicide often?
• What age group of the police is at a higher risk of committing suicide?
• Are there particular periods or events in the police calendar that are followed by high numbers of suicide?
• Do police who commit suicide have a mental disturbance history?
• Were they alcoholic?
• What is the perception of the suicide to the police officers?
• Police between the ages of 20 and 30 are at the higher risk of committing suicide.
• Both normal and police officers with mental disturbance histories do commit suicide.
• Police officers often perceive as the last resort to resolve or run away from challenges or situations they can’t bear.
It has been confirmed that more than 110 police officers have committed suicide during the last year alone with more cases still under investigation, this was an all time high since the recording begun in the 1980s. However the rate of police suicide is still low when compared to people of the American society with similar back ground and educational levels. This can be attributed to the fact that the police have the capacity to provide mental health care to its officers counseling and other support services required. (Krueger,1998)
Suicides can be attributed to relationship problems. This may include, pressure from their spouses, be it financial or general relationship problems. If an officer can’t stand this pressure and they obvious fact of the availability of the weapons, chances of committing suicide are high. Suicide can also be attributed to strain relationship between officers and their fellow officers or officers and their seniors.
In addition, there are times when the officers get trouble at their places of work. For instance they may be accused of neglecting their duties or services or a performance that does not meet the set out rules and standards. This pressure leads to suicide rather than face the ensuing consequences or disciplinary measures which include termination of services or suspensions. (www.usarmy.gov/suicide, 2008)
Police officers faced with regal procedures such as murder cases, corruption cases or negligence of duty cases do commit suicide in the event that they feel they may not win the cases or justice will either be delayed or denied.
Moreover, there are financial difficulties that often lead to high rates of suicide among the police officers. Currently in the USA there are several financial obligations that pose a challenge to the police officers in their endeavor to meet them. This includes taxation fees, mortgages and family financial obligations. Officers who find it hard to meet these obligations do commit suicide rather than face the realities of their failures.
Another factor that has lead to police suicide is stress and depression. Officers are often time tied in their work leaving no or little time for leisure or recreation. This unavailability of time to refresh leads to clogged minds and chances of suicide are increased.
The horrifying and terrifying realities that the police are exposed to can lead to mental disturbances leading to suicide. This includes exposure to suicide scenes, gun murders and horrifying accidents. (www.National P.O.L.I.C.E..org, 2001)
Methods of data collection (surveys, focus groups, observations)
Several surveys have been conducted by the police force to ascertain the rate of police suicide. This information are often found at the police records and aided in getting the data required.
Human rights groups have also conducted several surveys and have come up with figures showing the numbers, their age groups, marital status as well as the causes of the police officers suicide.
In addition focus groups can be used to gather relevant information concerning these suicides. They can focus on a particular police county for a period of time keeping records and happenings and durations of suicides.
Several eye witness observations can also be relied on to come up with relevant information and figures. The information can be got from immediate family members of the officers involved who are affected by his or her death or who witnessed them committing suicide.
Another way of gathering information is by interviewing fellow police officers or their seniors. They may be holding vital information about the circumstances surrounding the officers death or possess information that had been on to the by the officer prior to suicide.
Methods of Data analyses
Analytical induction method
This method will be used to analyze the collected data and come up with comments to be used in the findings. In this method, the event surrounding the officers suicide are studied after which a hypothetical reason on the cause of that is developed.
In this process, the cause of an officer’s suicide is determined by an inductive way of reasoning. For example, the cause can be attributed to a factor leading to another. Example, an officer commits murder, legal proceedings are instituted against him, its delayed, he is frustrated and commits suicide.
Possible outcomes/ findings
There are several factors that can be associated with the increased number of police suicide. Some of them are purely personal while others are a multiplicity of various other factors.
Mental problems can be associated to these suicides. Officers who have a mental problem are at high risk of taking their own lives especially so if they suffer from the condition in their line of duty and in the possession of a weapon.
Through their unsound mind, they may make unsound decisions to kill themselves.
Another factor that would cause an officer to commit suicide is alcoholism and drug use. If an officer is under the influence of alcohol or drugs, it reduces his or her cognitive abilities. With their reduced cognitive ability, they may turn against themselves as a way of actualizing their fantasies at the time which include the urge to kill or cause mayhem.
Too much pressure at places of work may lead to suicide. Senior officers may pressure their junior to perform duties at specified period of time or which may pose danger to officers them selves. Such duties such as fighting armed drug cartels or tracking down terrorists and serial killers may lead to suicide among officers to avoid such works or as away of showing their displeasure to their seniors.
The US justice system is also to blame for a number of police suicides. Rather than face the possibility of dismissal and the stigma associated with it from such legal proceeding such as murder, corruption or negligence of duty, officers results to taking their own life. In some other cases the regal proceedings may take longer period that expected leaving the officers frustrated and demoralized often leading to suicide.