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Doctoral Project Abstract

Police Suicide Awareness Training Model for the Harris County Sheriff's Office

Donald Savell
Regent University

National statistics show that police officers are 2-3 times more likely to take their own life than being killed in the line of duty. With that being said, the Harris County Sheriff's Office has taken a proactive approach in the area of "Police Suicide Awareness". In being prepared for the possibility of a deputy committing suicide and the resulting grief reaction, this police suicide training model will be implemented within our 3500 member department. Less than 1% of the 14,000 law enforcement agencies across the United States have a "Police Suicide Awareness," training model and the Harris County Sheriff's Office has a desire to "Model the Way" in this area of training.

The training model includes blocks of instruction in , Historical roots of Law Enforcement's response to suicide, stress (Physical & Psychological),stress in Law Enforcement, overview of CISM/PTSD, identifying the Problem of Police Suicide, response to the Problem, how to Handle a Suicidal Officer, communication Skills for Dealing with a Suicidal Individual, when a Suicide Occurs (Issues & Responsibilities of Officer & Agency), resources, issues of Survivors (Financial & Emotional Needs) and breaking the Blue Wall of Silence.

The opportunity is available for a proactive approach to training and communication in the area of police suicide. This proactive stance has required the leadership within the Harris County Sheriff's Office to demonstrate the desire for a cultural change to take place within our organization and they have responded by embracing this change and not rejecting it. Make no mistake, "It's all about LEADERSHIP."

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