Boulder City NV May 2 2013 CNN Even for stone-faced, seen-it-all-before officers, the act that took place at a police lieutenant’s Las Vegas-area home Monday was deeply distressing.
The 52-year-old lawman, police said, killed his wife and child, called 911 to say he was burning his house down and warned he would take the life of anyone who tried to stop him.
Then he waited.
When a SWAT team arrived at the lieutenant’s Boulder City home, they found Hans Pieter Walters outside with what looked like a handgun.
Officers asked him to drop the weapon — commands the lieutenant must have screamed many times before in his 20-year career. He ignored them and ducked back into the blazing home.
It was then, police believe, that he killed himself.
Once firefighters put out the blaze that tore through the home, they found Walters’s body, his 46-year-old wife’s, and their five-year-old son’s.
The lieutenant worked for the Las Vegas Metropolitan Police Department, where he supervised patrol officers, CNN affiliate KVVU reported.
The station had interviewed him before about other crimes.
The wife, Kathryn, worked for some time as a Las Vegas police officer, the Las Vegas Review-Journal said.
She won a community service award and a lifesaving award before leaving the department in 2004.
“Anyone involved with law enforcement for any amount of time is usually prepared for any scenario, but nobody can prepare for something like this,” Las Vegas Metro Sheriff Doug Gillespie told reporters.
Last year, 126 police officers killed themselves, according to the National Study of Police Suicides by the nonprofit The Badge of Life.
It’s a steep drop from the other two years the survey was conducted: 143 in 2009 and 141 in 2008.
Yet, it’s cause for concern.
“In spite of this encouraging news, the fact is that police suicides continue at a rate much higher than the number of police officers killed by felons,” the group said.
Folks who knew Walters were also trying to make sense of it. The soul-searching was agonizing for some.
Retired Las Vegas lieutenant Randy Sutton told KVVU he had worked alongside Walters for years.
“There’s no rhyme or reason,” Sutton said, saying the lieutenant was hard-working and seemed well-adjusted.
This is “the most unconscionable, dishonorable thing to do I can ever imagine,” he added.
“The memories I have of him, they mean nothing to me anymore.”
Anne Arundel County MD April 30 2013 A Bladensburg police officer who died after a collision in Anne Arundel County had shot himself while driving, the Maryland medical examiner determined.
Officer Brian Johnson died from a gunshot wound to the upper body, and his death was a suicide, Anne Arundel County police officials said Monday, citing findings by the medical examiner’s office in Baltimore.
The incident occurred about 9 a.m. Saturday on Route 100 near Catherine Avenue in Pasadena. Johnson shot himself while he was alone in his marked police vehicle, and his cruiser crossed the median and collided into a vehicle that was traveling in the opposite direction, police said.
When police found Johnson at the scene, they saw that he had “significant injuries,” officials said. Johnson was taken to a hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
Anne Arundel County police spokesman Justin Mulcahy said that “it’s unusual” for someone to commit suicide while in a moving vehicle.
The driver of the vehicle that Johnson crashed into was treated at the scene and released. While police were investigating the incident, part of westbound Route 100 was completely closed for a few hours, and traffic on eastbound Route 100 was reduced to one lane.
Johnson was off-duty at the time of the incident. Bladensburg police Lt. Scott Davis said that Johnson was employed by the town for about 10 years, working as a police officer for about 7 of those years.
“He was definitely an asset to the agency,” Davis said.
In addition to working as a police officer, Johnson was also a volunteer firefighter in Bladensburg. He is survived by his wife, three children and other family members.
“It is with the deepest of regrets, through heavy hearts and many tears our family has lost a great fireman and Bladensburg Police Dept. has lost a great Police Officer/Detective,” the Bladensburg Volunteer Fire Department said in a statement. “We shall forever remember the great times and the many things that you have taught to so many of our firefighters over the years.”
UNION TOWNSHIP NJ April 11 2013 — The body of a 25-year veteran of the Union County Police Department was found in a township park this morning, the victim of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, authorities said.
New York City NY April 5 2013
A respected NYPD lieutenant committed suicide in his Brooklyn home — and police say it’s not clear why he did it.
Lt. John Walton, 44, was found in the bathroom of his Bay Ridge apartment Easter night by his father, who lives in another apartment in the same home, police said.
The 23-year veteran shot himself in the mouth, sources said. The gun was found in the sink.
On a table in the kitchen, sources said, Walton left another gun, plus his shield and NYPD ID card. No note was found.
Walton worked at the 69th Precinct, where one month ago he moved from patrol to his new role as the administrative lieutenant, working closely with the precinct’s commanding officer, overseeing clerical staff and preparing reports.
A recent anonymous tip sparked an investigation at the precinct by the NYPD’s Quality Assurance Division, sources said. QUAD, as it is known, investigates how police take and classify crime reports
Sources said Walton was not the subject of the investigation, nor had he been interviewed. And an NYPD spokeswoman said the probe found no wrongdoing.
“This is a tragedy and these allegations have no validity,” said the spokeswoman, Inspector Kim Royster.
Walton spoke to another union official two weeks ago about the QUAD probe, but did not seem concerned, said Lou Turco, the head of the Lieutenants Benevolent Association.
“I’m sure (the suicide) had nothing to do with the investigation,” Turco said. “He was a professional lieutenant. I don’t understand what caused this. There was no sign of this, no sign leading up to this.
“It’s very sad.”
GREEN RIVER, Wyo. March 24 2013— A West Valley police officer who was missing for two days was found dead in his vehicle in Wyoming as a result of suicide.
Source: Desert News
East Hartford CT March 13 2013 The East Hartford police officer who died today at Hartford Hospital of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head was a South Windsor resident, according to South Windsor Deputy Chief of Police Richard Riggs.
Philadelphia Pa Feb 12 2013 A respected veteran of the Lower Merion Police Department was found dead in his car Monday after an alert was issued for his recovery, police said.
The police superintendent sent out an alert Monday morning that Officer Sean Quinn, 46, had not reported for duty and was missing to regional law enforcement agencies. He did this out of “an abundance of caution.”
Philadelphia police said they concentrated their search for Quinn at FDR Park in South Philadelphia. They found him unresponsive in his personal vehicle in the park. Police said Quinn was deceased due to a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Police said Quinn was last seen in Ardmore around 5:30 a.m. on Monday. He was due to report for duty at 7 a.m., but had not been able to be reached since then.
His last known contact with family was at 6:27 a.m., from the Columbus Boulevard area of Philadelphia.
The superintendent said in a statement that “The Lower Merion Police Department wishes to express its heartfelt condolences to Officer Quinn’s family and friends and asks that they be kept in your hearts and prayers as we all try to come to terms with this tragic event.”
Metro Las Vegas Police lieutenant kills wife and son before committing suicide www.privateofficer.com
BOULDER CITY, Nev. Jan 22 2013– A Metro Police lieutenant identified as Hans Walters, a 20-year veteran of the department, shot his wife and son to death Monday morning, police sources confirmed.
Henderson Police spokesman Keith Paul said 911 dispatchers received a call from the 52-year-old man who told them he had just killed his 46-year-old wife and young son and he was going to set his house on fire.
The slain wife was a former police officer, sources said.
The man also told dispatchers he would shoot any police officer who tried to stop him, Paul said.
The house was set on fire and Henderson and Boulder City crews put out the blaze.
When officers arrived to the house in the 1300 block of Esther Drive in Boulder City, the man was seen with a handgun and would not surrender, Paul said.
The man, who Paul identified as Walters, a current police officer,, went inside his home where it is believed he killed himself.
Clark County records show the home belongs to Metro Police Lt. Hans P. Walter.
During a press conference Monday afternoon, Clark County Sheriff Doug Gillespie said the house belonged to a Metro lieutenant who had been with the department for more than 20 years. He said Boulder City police officers were the first to respond to the shooting and found “several” bodies.
Gillespie referred all other questions to Henderson Police, which has taken over the investigation.
Neighbors told 8 News Now that the streets surrounding the house have been evacuated and blocked off. Some people who are still in their houses aren’t being allowed to leave as police officers investigate, the neighbors said.
The names of those killed will be released by the Clark County Coroner’s Office.
NORWALK CT Jan 17 2013
The police chief has confirmed this morning that a two-year veteran of the Norwalk Police Department took his own life while off-duty at his East Norwalk home Tuesday evening.
Police Chief Thomas Kulhawik announced today that they received a call last night and responded and that Officer Kenneth Cerulli, 41, was found in his home at 6:15 p.m., dead from what appears to be a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
Kulhawik said there was no evidence of foul play.
“We are saddened to lose a member of our family so suddenly and tragically,” said Kulhawik in a news release. “We ask that the privacy of the family be respected at this very difficult time.”
Cerulli was hired on Feb. 7, 2011.
POLICE SUICIDES DROP IN 2012
It will take us several months to review our data and profiles of cases, but one thing is already clear: police suicides took a noticeable drop in 2012.
We are the first group to track police suicides on a scientific basis and this is the first reduction we have seen since we began monitoring them in 2008. This is encouraging news that we tentatively attribute to the increased number of departments adopting peer support programs and the increased willingness of officers, many of them younger, to seek professional assistance—not only when they have a problem, but before problems develop. Other factors may be involved, as well, and we will keep you advised through our newsletters, website and, of course, the final published study. Our studies show the following:
2008 police suicides: 141
2009 police suicides: 143
2012 police suicides: 126
Average age, 2012: 41
Average yrs on job: 16
Source:Badge of Life
INDIANAPOLIS IN Sept 26 2012 – A correctional officer killed himself Monday on the grounds of the Indiana Women’s prison.
According to police, Major Kenneth Wiltsie, 55, took his own life with a single gunshot to the chest. Officers determined that Wiltsie used his issued semi-automatic pistol.
The prison, located at 2595 Girls School Road, was locked down while police investigated.
Police have identified the victim as 43-year-old Paul Martinez.
Martinez was an officer with the Casa Grande police department since 2002 and a deputy with the Pinal County Sheriff’s office before that.
PCSO is still investigating what they say looks like a suicide.
No one else was injured during the shooting.
The home is in a normally quiet neighborhood in the 2000 block of North Wildflower Lane.
Neighbors told FOX 10 that a police officer, his wife and two children live at the home.
Martinez was taken to a nearby school and flown to a hospital after the incident.
Sheriff’s Capt. Eben Bratcher says the body of DPS officer James Howard was found Wednesday afternoon just hours after he was questioned at his home in the eastern Yuma County community of Roll.
Howard’s body was found at an area shooting range dead of a gunshot wound to the head.
Bratcher said Friday an adult woman contacted deputies early last month and reported she was molested by Howard when she was a child more than 20 years ago.
Deputies served a search warrant at Howard’s home Wednesday morning and questioned but did not arrest him in the case.
The officer, who has not been identified, drove his black SUV to the Linden Hill Cemetery in Ridgewood sometime late Monday night to early Tuesday morning, then killed himself in his vehicle.
His body was discovered inside the parked vehicle on Starr Street around 8:00 a.m. Tuesday.
It wasn’t immediately known if the officer left a suicide note.
Redondo Beach CA Aug 23 2012 Investigators with the Redondo Beach Police Department are looking into the apparent suicide of an El Camino College police officer, according to a news release Redondo police Lt. Joe Hoffman.
Anthony Albert Tanori, 30, was pronounced dead of an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound in his South Redondo Beach home, Hoffman said. A coworker found him shortly before 9 a.m. after Tanori failed to go to work.
There is “no indication at all of any sort of foul play,” Hoffman told Patch.
“The Redondo Beach Police Department extends our condolences to Officer Tanori’s family and friends as well as all of the members of the El Camino College Police Department,” Hoffman wrote in the news release.
Records from El Camino College indicate that Tanori began working the community college’s police department in 2009. He was previously a member of the Hawthorne Police Department.
Wake Village TX July 1 2012 An on-duty police officer was found dead in a nearby park Friday afternoon in Wake Village, Texas.
The body was found behind the ball fields at King Park. Texarkana Police, Wake Village Police and Texas Rangers are investigating this incident as a suicide.
Police investigator Chad Tye was found dead in his squad car Friday afternoon with a gunshot wound to the chest.
Police are still investigating.
Ocean City NJ June 25 2012 Every morning, 21-year-old Special Officer Giovanni DeMarco suits up and patrols the boardwalk in Ocean City.
For $10 an hour, no health benefits and no vacation days, he puts his life on the line to keep countless beach-goers safe.
But he is just one face in a population of thousands who seek seasonal employment at the Jersey Shore each year.
Some work as reinforcement for local police departments, others as amusement park ride operators, or ice cream scoopers, but they all are part of the magic that is the Jersey Shore.
“We hire a mix of approximately 40 Class 1 and Class 2 officers every summer,” said Ocean City Police Lt. Bruce Twiggs.
The hiring of special officers to supplement shore towns has been going on for more than 30 years. Just about every police department along the Atlantic coast does it.
“Our population fluctuates between about 12,000 in the winter time to a peak of 110,000 in the summer,” said Twiggs. “With that kind of influx we need supplemental officers, but we don’t need them year-round.”
The Ocean City police department has 55 full-time officers.
“So for the summer we don’t exactly double our force, but it is pretty close,” said Twiggs.
To help with the crowds, police departments can hire two classes of seasonal help.
Class 1 special law enforcement officers have limited enforcement powers and do not carry firearms, but can still enforce laws for motor vehicle violations, city ordinances, petty disorderly persons offenses and disorderly persons.
These recruits go through 80 hours of training, traffic enforcement, traffic control, unarmed defense, report writing and other basic law enforcement courses.
Class 2 officers are just shy of full-time police officers. They can carry a firearm, but cannot make arrests outside of a town’s jurisdiction or take their firearms home.
These officers receive 471 hours of training, classes run in the winter and summer, said Twiggs.
DeMarco worked his way up and is now serving as a Class 2 officer in Ocean City.
“Last year I served on the patrol division as a Class 1. I issued parking tickets more than anything, but it was a good learning experience,” said DeMarco. “I was able to learn from the officers around me and pick up their good habits.”
This year, DeMarco is on the boardwalk unit and he has embraced the extra responsibility of a Class 2 officer. He also likes the interaction with the public.
“I want the public to look at me and see that I enjoy my job,” said DeMarco. “I don’t want people to fear approaching me, because as law enforcement officers we are here to help the community.”
This is John Coffey’s first year as a Class 1 officer in Ocean City.
The 18–year-old Pennsauken resident is a student at Rowan University.
Twiggs said 99 percent of the special officers they hire are college students. Of that amount, 75 percent are criminal justice majors. Some students can even use the summer jobs to earn college credit.
“I’m only a month in, but for the most part it has been a positive experience,” said Coffey. “It’s a good test to see if I want to pursue a career in law enforcement.”
So far, Coffey said he handles a lot of “quality of life” calls.
“Not too much action yet on the boardwalk,” he said.
Twiggs said boardwalk officers work on a two-shift rotation, either 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. or a 5 p.m. to 1 a.m.
DeMarco said there are major differences between the two shifts.
“During the daytime you see more families so you get calls for medical emergencies like heat stroke or seizures,” said DeMarco. “At night there is more action, kids out drinking or causing trouble.”
DeMarco, who hopes to land a job with his hometown department, said his goal is to protect the public and educate them on why certain rules on the boardwalk need to be followed.
North Wildwood Police Lt. Kevin Tolan said working as a special officer can serve as a stepping stone for a future law-enforcement career.
North Wildwood, where the population typically swells from 5,000 year-round to 50,000 in the summer, has hired 43 officers this summer to supplement their 20-plus full-time police force.
“This year 10 kids returned out of 41 because most of the officers from last year got picked up for a full-time job in their hometowns,” said Tolan. “We’ve had kids who started here that are now in all levels of law enforcement across the state.”
But the Jersey Shore is not all about law and order.
This summer Caroline Drury, 20, of Philadelphia, is working at Johnson’s Popcorn.
She said her family owns a house in Ocean City and as she got older she started picking up jobs to make some extra money.
“I like it a lot but it kind of stinks being able to look out at the beach knowing you’re stuck here,” said Drury. “It gets tough and frustrating when I’m the only girl working, you have to think the line will always end at some point.”
Personnel Director at Gillian’s Wonderland Pier, Brian O’Connell, said they hire about 200 summer employees including international college students from Lithuania and Turkey.
Morey’s Pier in Wildwood hires approximately 1,500 seasonal workers and keeps 115 full-time employees, said spokesman Tim Samson. Most seasonal ride operators make the minimum wage of $7.25 an hour.
Tim Diggins, 19, of Egg Harbor Township, has been working at Ocean City’s Wonderland Pier for three years.
“It’s a fun, reliable job,” Diggins said. “You get to watch kids have fun on rides and it’s pretty easy.”
Diggins said the ability to work just a few months in the summer is what drew him to seasonal work at the shore.
“I go to college in North Carolina so three or four months of work is the perfect job for me,” said Diggins. “Most days here I work open to close.”
As for training on certain rides, Diggins said each day they are assigned to a ride.
“They make a schedule each day and if someone has not been trained on a ride they take you out and spend plenty of time making sure you know how to operate the ride,” said Diggins. “Safety is first.”
The Jersey Shore is also known to host many international workers through the summer. It was 20-year-old Kazakhstan native Bagdat Akhmenov’s first trip to the United States.
Akhmenov is working at George’s Candies this summer.
“I wanted to see the world and make new friends,” said Akhmenov, whose native country in central Asia borders Russia. “I’ve never been to the USA. It maybe was a little bit like my dream to come here.”
According to the U.S. Department of State’s Exchange Visitor Program, in 2011 nearly 7,000 workers came into New Jersey for summer jobs on a temporary work visa.
The Federal Summer Work Travel program is said to provide foreign students with an opportunity to live and work in the United States during their summer vacation from college to experience and to be exposed to the people and way of life in the United States.
Samson said Morey’s Piers owns four boarding homes that house both international and U.S. employees.
“We house about 10 percent of our summer work force,” Samson said. “We work with area housing owners and provide options to our seasonal associates.”
It is difficult to get a handle on how many police officers commit suicide, let alone what causes it and why their suicide rate appears higher than the general population, said John Violanti, a research professor at the University of Buffalo and an expert on police suicides.
“We know it’s a problem, but we don’t know the extent of the problem,” he said.
The problem struck the Quincy Police Department in shocking fashion Thursday morning when Edward Ryan, a well-liked and respected drug unit detective and an officer in Quincy since 1996, was found dead of a gunshot wound in a West Quincy cemetery. No foul play is suspected.
“He was always upbeat, always laughing, joking,” Police Chief Paul Keenan said. “We’re devastated at the loss. No one can explain it.”
Ryan, a 41-year-old second-generation police officer, was found by a cemetery worker in the Pine Hill Cemetery. Ryan’s father, Thomas, who died in 1997, is buried there.
The state medical examiner will determine whether Edward Ryan’s death was a suicide. The apparent cause of death was a single gunshot wound with no additional indications of trauma to the body, according to the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office.
Keenan called an immediate meeting with officers Thursday to explain the situation, and activated two members of the department who are trained to deal with stress. The department also called in the Boston Police Stress Unit, which specializes in helping officers deal with personal problems.
Other law enforcement agencies offered their backup so Quincy officers can attend services for Ryan next week, which Keenan said will be “more subdued” than they would be for an officer killed in the line of duty.
After the services, Keenan said, the department will have a mandatory debriefing for all officers.
“What happens in the room and what is said in the room stays in the room,” Keenan said of the debriefing. “It gives the officers an opportunity to vent.”
Police said suicide hasn’t struck the Quincy police ranks in decades. Nationally, suicide rates among police officers are thought to be higher than they are in the general population, and suicide is a bigger cause of officer death than being shot by a suspect.
A study by Violanti last year estimated that an average of 18 of every 100,000 police officers commit suicide, compared with 11 out of 100,000 in the general population.
Violanti said the victims are most likely to be white patrolmen between 35 and 44 years of age, with 10 to 19 years of service. Ninety-five percent use their service firearm in committing suicide, he said.
A significant number of the victims, Violanti said, appear to have relationship problems exacerbated by the stress of police work.
The study was based on an Internet search for stories about approximately 143 police suicides, which police departments aren’t required to report.
Violanti advocates requiring departments to report that information to get a true picture of the problem and a window into the causes.
“We need to develop ‘psychological autopsies’ to delve further into how these things develop,” he said. “By looking into the past of the individual … we can make determinations of how this got to this point in the first place. That kind of research is really new with police, but I think it’s very worthwhile.”
The Badge of Life Police Mental Health Organization, a California nonprofit focused on police suicide prevention that uses Violanti as a consultant, recommends annual mental health checks for officers, no matter how sure they are they don’t have issues.
“Your career is one of the most toxic, dangerous, violent and traumatic in the world,” the group’s website reads. “You deal with ‘unhealth’ on the streets every day and night, then go home and try to lead a healthy home life.”
Ryan, a Quincy native who lived in Canton, began his career as a seasonal police officer in Hull in the early 1990s.
In 1991, he told The Patriot Ledger that his father Thomas’ experiences as a Boston officer inspired him to get into the field. His two brothers also work in law enforcement.
“I always wanted to be a cop, since as long as I can remember,” Ryan said in the 1991 interview.
Bethlehem Township NJ June 7 2012 The body of a Bethlehem police officer who apparently committed suicide was found in a wooded area of western New Jersey on Sunday, according to report in The Express Times.
Frank A. Rossnagle, 51, had been an officer in the Bethlehem Police Department for more than 15 years, starting in 1997. Prior to that, he had worked as a police officer in New Jersey in Washington Township, which is not far from where his body was found in Mansfield Township.
An entry on the Bethlehem Police Department’s blog paid tribute to the deceased officer today. It said that Rossnagle has been the property/evidence officer for the department for the past four years. He had also worked in the department’s Criminal Investigations Division for more than eight years.
Rossnagle received 10 letters of commendation for exemplary performance while working for the Bethlehem Police Department.
“He was honored for his poise and control during stressful situations, his team efforts and his sense of duty,” the blog post read. “Frank’s contributions to our community have been many and meaningful.”
Rossnagle also served as the department’s historian, “doing many hours of research on his own to uncover many of the details of our department’s past,” according to the tribute blog.
“It is clear that Frank’s passing has left a great void in our police department family and we are all mourning the loss.”
In a comment posted under the blog, Don Hoffman, who identified himself as an officer who was sworn in on the same day as Rossnagle, said he was well loved for a “‘gruff’ exterior that covered for one of the most tender and caring hearts you could find in a human being.”
Schiffer said the department is currently in the process of organizing a memorial for Rossnagle.
Rossnagle is survived by his wife, Audrey, and step-daughter, Amie O’Rourke.
Bedford NH May 18 2012 A Bedford police sergeant who committed suicide last Friday was facing a theft charge along with a Hill officer alleging they stole a vest with a “Road Dawgs” police motorcycle club insignia from a Concord store last year.
Gary Norton, 48, a 15-year veteran of the Bedford department, was found dead in his Newbury home last Friday night, according to Assistant Safety Commissioner Earl Sweeney.
Sweeney confirmed Norton’s death was a suicide and that he died from a gunshot wound, but he wasn’t sure whether Norton used a personal or police-issued weapon.
“He was a highly respected and very much people-oriented person,” Sweeney said. “It certainly is a tragedy for someone to take his life over something like that. It’s a shame for him and his family.”
Norton and Hill police Sgt. Jonathan Evans, 56, were charged with theft by unauthorized taking, a class B misdemeanor, in connection with the vest theft May 21, 2011, from the Pepper Defense Supply store in Concord.
They were both said to be members of Road Dawgs Motorcycle Club at the time, which is only open to active and retired police. Evans did not return phone calls.
Criminal complaints against Norton and Evans were filed last Friday morning in Concord District Court, according to Assistant Cheshire County Attorney John Webb, who is prosecuting because of a conflict in the Merrimack County Attorney’s Office.
The owner of the store, Brian Blackden, 47, who is also a freelance photographer for various news organizations, has a history of run-ins with police.
Blackden was shocked to learn that Norton took his own life.
“It makes me feel terrible for his family, and I just don’t think this would have been reason enough to do something like that,” Blackden said.
The vest, which Blackden obtained three years before in a storage bin sale, was taken from his 485 North State St. store by five men wearing Road Dawgs Motorcycle Club vests, he said.
“They rushed the store. Three of the men blocked me in front of the counter,” Blackden said. Another man blocked the entrance while another forcefully removed the vest from a mannequin, he said.
Blackden immediately called Concord police with full descriptions and a vanity plate.
He said he can’t understand why it took almost a year to investigate and only two faced charges.
“If it had been the Hells Angels or anyone else, they would have been arrested within hours by a SWAT team,” Blackden said.
Blackden believes the theft was retaliation because he sued New Hampshire State Police after troopers confiscated his camera at a fatal accident scene in Canterbury in August of 2010. Belsito Communications, a New York-based news agency that lists Blackden as a correspondent, is suing state police as well.
Blackden, who has sold photographs to the New Hampshire Union Leader and other news outlets, drove a converted ambulance with the words 1st Responder News on the side to the Canterbury crash.
He wore a fire protective coat and helmet with the word Photographer on both sides when police confiscated his camera, according to news reports at the time.
After the lawsuit was filed, Blackden was charged and convicted of impersonating emergency personnel at the Canterbury crash scene and a red light restriction violation. Concord Attorney Penny Dean has appealed the impersonation conviction to the state Supreme Court.
Hill Police Chief David Kratz said Jonathan Evans has been with his department for about seven years. He and selectmen decided there will be no change in Evans’ employment status to see what happens at trial, Kratz said.
“Sgt. Evans has always been a superior officer for us,” Kratz said.
Mike Brady, chairman of the Hill selectmen, said he was aware of the pending theft charge against Evans.
“John has been a good officer in Hill,” Brady said.
Evans was formerly a member of the Road Dawgs Motorcycle Club, but is no longer affiliated with the group, Brady said.
New York NY April 21 2012 An off-duty NYPD officer was clinging to life early Thursday after apparently shooting himself in the head in his Bronx home, police sources said.
The cop, whose name was not released, was rushed to Jacobi Medical Center after a 911 call at 9:45 p.m., police and fire officials said.
Neighbors said the officer had lived on the top floor at the Holland Ave. address in Van Nest for a few months.
“He was a good neighbor — quiet,” said Ziggy Poindexter, 79.
“He was always smiling and happy,” said Nathan Vellon 20, whose family owns the home the cop was living in. “He seemed like a nice guy.”
Four NYPD police officers have committed suicide with guns in 2012.
Matthew Schindler, 39, a 14-year-veteran assigned to the 115th Precinct in Jackson Heights, Queens, was on his way home from work when he pulled over on the Long Island Expressway in Jericho, L.I. on Feb. 13 and shot himself to death.
On Jan. 19, Officer Terrence Dean, 28, used his service weapon to shoot himself while on duty in the 111th Precinct after he received a phone call from his girlfriend.
Patrick Werner, 23, a rookie, took his own life at his family home in Westchester County in January.
In early February, Police Officer Brian Saar died by a self-inflicted gunshot wound at his Long Island home.
The OSBI says 34-year-old Ashley Burrus walked into the department about 2:30 a.m. Wednesday, sat in a chair in the lobby and shot himself in the chest. The agency initially spelled the officer’s name Burris.
Authorities say Burrus died at the scene.
The OSBI says agents have determined that Burrus was going through undisclosed domestic issues and that Anadarko police asked the agency to investigate.
The trooper returned to his patrol car and called for a backup to respond. During this time, Bylsma drove off from the stop and continued eastbound on Rt. 50 at a high rate of speed with the trooper in pursuit.
The two troopers on the scene behind the vehicle gave repeated orders for the driver to exit his vehicle.
Nassau County NY March 28 2012 Police have confirmed that a 25-year member of the Nassau County Police Department committed suicide some time between Sunday night and Monday morning at Mill Pond Park. According to police, a pedestrian was walking in the Mill Pond Preserve on Merrick Road Monday morning when he came across the body of a male on the bike path. Police were notified and an investigation was conducted. Newsday reported that the victim was found hanging from a tree by the passerby at approximately 7:30 a.m. “It is with deep regret that the Nassau County Police Department determined the deceased was a 25-year member of the department,” the NCPD said in a statement Monday. Due to the nature of the incident, police are not releasing the name of the deceased. Mill Pond Park is a 54-acre preserve on the border of Bellmore and Wantagh. It is part of the Nassau County parks system.
Newark NJ March 26 2012 When police officer Christopher Matlosz was executed in broad daylight while on routine patrol on Jan. 14, 2011, shock and grief extended well beyond his family to the 119 members of the Lakewood Police Department.
“When you have an officer killed the way Chris Matlosz was — he was pretty much assassinated, he didn’t stand a chance — it’s just like a member of your family is killed,” Lakewood Police Chief Robert Lawson said.
The emotions go beyond grief and despair, he said.
“It shatters your own image of invulnerability, which you need, or you couldn’t do your job,” Lawson said.
Typically, police officers, to preserve their tough image, keep emotions to themselves, he said. But after Matlosz was executed, members of the Lakewood department were encouraged to open up and talk about their feelings to counselors from Cop2Cop, a Piscataway-based organization designed to help officers in crisis.
First in nation
Cop2Cop, the first program of its kind in the nation, is run by University Behavioral HealthCare at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. The program operates a 24-hour crisis intervention and suicide prevention hotline for law-enforcement officers.
The hotline is manned by retired officers, who are trained in stress management and who provide clinical assessments and referrals to those who call in. Some of the retirees are clinicians with degrees in social work or counseling.
The organization takes credit for preventing 189 police suicides since its call center opened in November 2000.
In addition, the organization – with a staff of 16 and an annual budget of $400,000 funded by forfeited bails and surcharges on traffic tickets — provides training to active law-enforcement officers on how to recognize whether their colleagues are suicidal or in crisis.
Cop2Cop runs a group for wounded officers. It also provides what is called critical incident stress management to officers and their families after traumatic incidents, such as a police shooting or an officer’s death. Since its inception, Cop2Cop has conducted more than 700 group debriefings, said Cherie Castellano, program director.
We send a team, a crisis response group, to talk and to help officers normalize their experiences with traumatic incidents,” Castellano said.
After Matlosz’s murder, Cop2Cop counselors descended upon Lakewood for a few weeks to counsel the grief-stricken police force, Lawson said.
Some of the emotions making the rounds in the department were anger and guilt, explained Lakewood officer Gary Przewoznik, president of Policemen’s Benevolent Association Local 71. Przewoznik said many of his fellow officers were asking themselves, “Why couldn’t I be there to stop this from happening?”
What made the members of the Lakewood force more comfortable discussing their emotions about Matlosz’s death was the fact that they were talking to members the law-enforcement brotherhood, according to Lawson and Przewoznik.
“They made us feel more comfortable because they are cops,” Przewoznik said. “Officers put up a shield. We can’t let the public see that we’re human, but we are.
“We were talking to other cops about what we were going through,” Przewoznik said. “Everybody was feeling the same thing, but nobody else wanted to come out and say it. … It was good to be able to vent and talk about how you felt with your peers, and see that everybody felt the same way.”
Lawson said he mandated the group counseling for the entire department after Matlosz’s murder because police officers tend to have a “macho” attitude that they don’t need help, when they do.
“Who better to understand what a police officer goes through than someone who has done it?” the chief said, adding that he also availed himself of the counseling.
Matlosz’s killer – Jahmell Crockam, 20, of Lakewood – was sentenced Thursday to life in prison with no possibility of parole.
“Now we can close that chapter and start the healing process,” Przewoznik said after the sentencing.
Cop2Cop is the only program mandated by a state law to provide suicide prevention and mental health services to the state’s more than 50,000 law-enforcement officers, according to Castellano. Sen. Joseph Kyrillos, R-Monmouth, sponsored the legislation that created the program in 1998 after a rash of police suicides in the Monmouth County area, Castellano said.
It became a model for programs like it, not only in the state, but throughout the country,” Kyrillos said, pointing out that the spinoffs in New Jersey include hotlines for veterans, mothers and a national hotline based in New Jersey for military personnel.
Kyrillos said he got the idea for the legislation from John McGuire, who retired as chief of the Shrewsbury police force in 1993 and was Cop2Cop’s first director.
McGuire said the hotline, at its inception, was a tough sell. He went to every police department in the state trying to market it and was told, “Nobody’s ever going to call your line,” he recalled.
“Cops only talk to other cops and bartenders,” McGuire explained. “Then you realize there are retired cops out there who are therapists.”
Since the call center opened, its counselors have fielded more than 30,000 telephone calls, said Castellano, an expert in crisis intervention for law enforcement and is married to a detective with the Morris County Prosecutor’s Office.
Three callers committed suicide after calling the hotline. But, she said, “We have had 189 rescues, where officers had guns to their heads, overdosed or barricaded themselves.”
Joseph Orgo, a retired Newark police officer and licensed social worker who resides in Brielle, had a hand in saving two of those officers.
“One person called me and said, ‘I’m in the closet of this (police) department, and I have my gun to my head,’ ” Orgo recalled of a phone call he fielded in 2004.
Orgo said he contacted the caller’s captain, who went and found the suicidal officer in the closet.
“There he was with his gun, and he got the help he needed,” Orgo said.
Many of the people who call the hotline are not suicidal, according to Castellano. Some have had traumatic experiences on the job, disagreements with their bosses or their spouses, financial difficulties or drinking problems, she said.
Gun in mouth
Roy Diaz, a Millstone Township resident and retired lieutenant from the homicide unit of the Union County Prosecutor’s Office, carried around a secret for decades, he said.
In 1988, while in the midst of a custody battle for his three boys, “I was sitting in an apartment in Elizabeth with a gun in my mouth,” Diaz said.
“I did try to call people’s beepers, but it was a Friday afternoon, and no one returned my calls,” Diaz said.
What stopped him from pulling the trigger, he said, was the thought of who would take care of his boys, whom he eventually got custody of.
Diaz, however, has had six friends in law-enforcement who succeeded in killing themselves.
“I don’t want any of my friends to die. I don’t want any cop to die,” said Diaz, who is another of Cop2Cop’s peer counselors.
“I think I have a lot to offer somebody who’s on the line. I suffered through depression, anxiety, and at 37, had a heart attack from the stress of the job. I think I have something to give back.”
He did several months ago, when he received his first call from a suicidal officer.
“He had a plan, and we talked ourselves through it,” Diaz said. “The person is still here and working. I didn’t foil a bank robbery, but I saved a guy’s life by being there.”