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
As the New York Police Department grapples with a rash of suicides by police officers, the largest police force in the U.S. will implement personal data mining of its officers to spot any red flags.
In a joint announcement Tuesday, Office of the Inspector General and the NYPD said the department accepted the OIG's recommendations to improve policies and practices regarding officers' wellness and safety, which includes using disciplinary records and off-the-job issues such as domestic incidents as tool for early intervention.
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% of which were related to alcohol or controlled substance offenses).
The data is 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.
With new implementations, the data will be used to promote officer wellness.
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.
A survey conducted by the OIG reported that 50% of 44 uniformed personnel who retired in 2016 said they feared the department would find out about their decision to seek mental health support.
"Everyone must be comfortable accessing any of the many available resources, and should understand that asking for help is never a sign of weakness – in fact, it is a sign of great strength," Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said in a statement.
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: