A Collaborative Workshop Addressing Suicide Among Law Enforcement
by: Dr. Daniel Hollar, Chair; Department of Behavior and Social Science Studies
In 2017, The Department of Justice indicated that officers in the Chicago Police Department have a 60% higher suicide rate when compared to other police departments throughout the country. Dr. Daniel Hollar, Chair of the Department of Behavior and Social Science Studies, with expertise in suicidality, together with a group of officers, academicians and clinicians, conducted a workshop series entitled Bridging the Gap: A Collaborative Workshop Confronting Suicide Among Police Officers, on March 22, 2019, in Chicago, Illinois for officers of the Chicago Police Department (CPD) and the surrounding area. Approximately 50 officers in attendance from CPD, Cook County Sheriffs office, Skokie Police Department and Waukegan Police Department participated in the workshop. The keynote speaker, Dr. Thomas E. Joiner from Florida State University is the leading expert on suicide research, with over 500 peer-reviewed publications.
The workshop is the result of a forum completed last November in Chicago, when Dr. Hollar was invited by the Center for Applied Psychology and Forensic Services (CAPFS) to lead a two-day workshop on police suicide risk assessment and prevention, which included participation from CPD, local police psychologists, clinicians from Massachusetts and Toronto, as well as, chaplains and university researchers. "We received positive feedback from all participants, and were encouraged to expand the workshop to include several series with prominent speakers and a broader audience. Thus, the Bridging the Gap series was born," said Hollar.
The purpose of this event was to increase understanding of psychological (mental, behavioral, emotional) issues as they relate to Law Enforcement Officer suicides which is of national concern. The workshop included: assessing the problem of police officer suicide, reviewing the leading suicide theory, and learned how to apply a model of suicide risk assessment to plan effective intervention strategies for police officers at risk for suicide, surveying the main obstacles which impede police departments in developing and implementing solutions to the problem of suicide among officers, and proposing solutions for prevention and intervention of police officer suicide which may be implemented by police departments.