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Old 07-12-2013, 01:07 AM
Location: Chicago area
13,061 posts, read 7,219,545 times
Reputation: 50049


The candles were lit against a blue and pale orange summer sky. There's something magic about children running with sparklers at sunset on the summer solstice. "If there's one candle, there's life." Profound words from a precocious fatherless child.
I'm transported back to June 11th because the raw emotion of two other fatherless children still echo in my mind. We last saw him on my husbands last day of work at his in house retirement party. He was withdrawn and unwilling to participate in the festivities but he came out and gave me a hug. There was a darkness about him that was hard to be around. I stopped by his office and told him to come and see us sometime. He smiled and said that he would. In my heart I knew it wasn't meant to be.
It was a week to the day that he decided to forever silence his demons with a single gun shot to the head. He was dressed in his uniform and on his way to work. I held his precious daughter at his wake and wondered how he could leave her, his other teenage son, and his terminally ill wife when she needed him the most.
He was an honorable man with a meteoric rise through the ranks to Chief of Police by age forty. Was it his demotion? His wife's illness. His last words were "I'm sorry. I love you all."
Life is full of ironic twists of fate. He was the one that finally instituted permanent shifts to help reduce the risk of suicide among the ranks. John earned his stripes under his command and it was bitter sweet that his last official act as sergeant was to honor the man that gave him his stripes. His uniform still hangs in the closet complete with his star and black band.
It's been a month to the day now and it's taken that long to process what he's done. He was the fourth person I've known that has committed suicide. In the general public there are 11 suicides per 100,00. In police work 17 suicides per 100,000 and in the army 20 suicides per 100,000.
In time the memory will fade as it does with all the people that pass in and out of our lives, but for now it has taken the wind out of our sails. I know that many of you have walked in these shoes and it's cathartic to finally express the emotion connected to such a selfish act. If anyone else would like to share a story and how you got passed it please feel free, and please say something nice to a cop when you see them. It's a very hard job to be societies garbage men and women. I noticed something at the wake and funeral. There was the civilian side and the cop side. The two never mingled. All the cops sat at the back of the church or stayed in the parking lot in the back at the wake. Forever "on" forever isolated. Terribly sad because we are all human beings regardless of what we do for a living.

Old 07-12-2013, 01:01 PM
Location: Prescott AZ
5,853 posts, read 8,451,466 times
Reputation: 10758
Animal Crazy:
I know by way of my (now deceased) Mom of whom you speak. The story of this dedicated police officer's suicide was a shock to everyone in North Riverside and Riverside. I believe we even met him once, when he came to speak to the Riverside Golden Agers. I think there were many factors none of us knew about and it wasn't the demotion that triggered this. Depression has many causes, some of them biological and if he had only gotten good mental health treatment he might still have his life, his children and even time with his wife. I am sure you know much more about this situation than I, but thank you so much for sharing. I have the greatest respect for all police and firefighters, especially after the 19 died here in Prescott, serving the public. We owe it to their families and friends who are left the love and respect they deserve for a job well done.
Old 07-13-2013, 11:26 AM
Location: Chicago area
13,061 posts, read 7,219,545 times
Reputation: 50049
He was a strong person and always capable. I remember the good old days at the shift parties. He was always fun to be around and we always found time for a visit. The higher he went the more isolated he became. I told my husband that the job was killing him years ago. He was the best chief and I'm glad my husband told him so on his last day of work. I think the demotion to a boring position probably made him hate going to work. I know my husbands friend hates it already and he's only had the position for a couple of weeks. It was also serious cut in pay for him that would affect his pension. The whole dynamic around his demotion could easily be perceived as a betrayal especially from someone who tried to do his very best. Yes depression is a serious issue especially among police. One of my patients was retired one day from police work and had a serious stroke. He said in his career he knew of around 20 police officers that committed suicide. Seeking help is a catch 22 situation. You can lose your job so many suffer in silence, or do the unthinkable. I'm sorry to hear about your mother PhxBarb.
Old 07-13-2013, 06:17 PM
Location: East of the Mississippi and South of Bluegrass
4,121 posts, read 3,402,181 times
Reputation: 8691
My deep and sincere condolences for the tragic loss of this dear friend. Although I did not know the Chief personally I have lived in North Riverside and have had excellent experiences with the Police Department there as well as the entire Village government and community.

I have a very dear friend who is a detective with the CPD and as you have indicated the work is absolutely brutal to ones humanity. I have two young men from the same family who are both Police Officers in two different suburbs adjacent to Riverside/N Riverside...I pray for their continued safety and sanity every single day.

Godspeed, may you all come to some peace in this very, very difficult time.

Best regards, sincerely

Old 07-14-2013, 01:16 PM
Location: The Great State of Arkansas
5,981 posts, read 15,916,396 times
Reputation: 7531
Folks, this thread is being closed. Since this is a public figure and there is plenty of news coverage, I will close the thread out of respect to the family and friends of this gentleman and wish him Godspeed. We owe our men and women who serve and protect in the military, as police officers, and as fireman a debt of gratitude, and it is sad when their story ends like this.

Thank you for your participation.
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