At 3:50 p.m. Friday afternoon, a 29-year-old New York City police officer shot and killed himself outside the Staten Island Police precinct where he worked.
It marked the latest in a troubling trend: Three suicides of New York Police Department officers in 10 days – and the fourth this year.
The situation in New York is part of a national problem. Last year, for the third straight year, cops who died by suicide outnumbered line-of-duty deaths.
New York’s string of tragedies prompted NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill to deliver a call for action and to encourage fellow cops to not be afraid to seek help if they need it.
“This is a mental-health crisis,” O’Neill tweeted Friday night. “And we – the NYPD and the law enforcement profession as a whole – absolutely must take action. This cannot be allowed to continue. Cops spend so much of their days assisting others. There is no shame in seeking assistance from the many resources available, both inside and outside the department.
“Accepting help is never a sign of weakness,” he added. “In fact, it’s a sign of great strength.”
The NYPD has not released the name of the latest police officer who died from suicide.
A funeral was held Monday for Steven Silks, a 62-year-old deputy police chief who shot and killed himself in a car on June 5. The New York Times reported that Silks, a 38-year veteran of the department, parked his car on a quiet street just hours after his mandatory retirement was announced. He shot himself near where his retirement ceremony would have taken place.
His death rattled many in the department.
“Steve truly was one of the most capable and most dependable cops this job has ever seen,” O’Neill said. “His entire career, much of his adult life in fact, was devoted to New York City, to its police officers and to fighting crime and to protect all the people that we serve.”