'Absolutely the Wrong Approach': NYPD Police Union Condemns OIG's Recommendation to Prevent Officer Suicides - NBC New York

Officers are dying by suicide. A look at the escalating mental health crisis within the NYPD

'Absolutely the Wrong Approach': NYPD Police Union Condemns OIG's Recommendation to Prevent Officer Suicides

The NYPD PBA called the OIG's recommendation a step backwards in the effort to support officers

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Top Cop Speaks on Mental Health After NYPD Suicides

    New York City's top cop is asking members of the NYPD to seek help if they need it in the wake of the suicide deaths of two officers in less than 24 hours. David Ushery reports. (Published Friday, June 7, 2019)

    What to Know

    • The NYPD says it will implement data mining of its officers, including domestic incidents, to spot any red flags and prevent suicides

    • The data is already available through the department's Risk Assessment Information Liability System but it wasn't used for officer wellness

    • According to the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau, 1064 uniformed NYPD members were involved in "domestic incidences" between 2017 and 2018

    The largest NYPD union condemned the Officer of the Inspector General's recommendation to mine personal data for the purpose of preventing suicides within the department, calling the policy "absolutely the wrong approach."

    The OIG's recommendation comes as the NYPD grapples with a rash of suicides by police officers.

    In a joint statement Tuesday, the OIG and the NYPD said the department accepted recommendations that included using disciplinary records and off-the-job issues such as domestic incidents as tools to spot red flags for early intervention.

    The NYPD Police Benevolent Assosciation issued its statement Thursday, calling the OIG's recommendation a step backwards in the effort to support officers and prevent continued deaths by suicide.

    "The Inspector General's recommendation to link mental health and wellness efforts with the Internal Affairs Bureau and the NYPD disciplinary system is absolutely the wrong approach," PBA Preident Patrick J. Lynch said. "It gets the problem backwards: the bureaucratic second-guessing to which police officers are subjected is already a significant source of stress. Adding more of it will not reduce that stress."

    According to the NYPD's Internal Affairs Bureau, 1064 uniformed NYPD members were involved in "domestic incidences" between 2017 and 2018, and 371 officers were arrested between 2015 and 2018 (nearly 30 percent of which were related to alcohol or controlled substance offenses).

    The data is already available through the department's Risk Assessment Information Liability System (RAILS), according to the Inspector General's Office, but it was used to focus on optimizing officer performance.

    Other recommendations from the OIG include an overarching Mental Health and Wellness policy, hiring full-time licensed mental health professionals and providing them with helpful internal data and getting outside mental health experts to review and audit current mental health trainings.

    7th NYPD Officer Dies by Suicide in 10 Weeks7th NYPD Officer Dies by Suicide in 10 Weeks

    An NYPD cop was found in with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his home in Queens Wednesday evening, according to law enforcement sources. Ida Siegal reports.

    (Published Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019)

    "The NYPD should remain focused on getting members high-quality, professional treatment they need, and ensuring that treatment does not needlessly derail their careers," Lynch concluded.

    A survey conducted by the OIG reported that 50 percent of 44 uniformed personnel who retired in 2016 said they feared the department would find out about their decision to seek mental health support.

    New York City police officials say the department usually has about four or five officers kill themselves each year. So far in 2019, nine officers have died by suicide.

    Editor's note: The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7 crisis support by text. Text HELLO to 741741 to be connected to a trained counselor.

    Read the rest of the OIG's recommendations and the NYPD's response below:

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