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LETTER: A reluctance among the police to admit to mental health issues

In response to the July 22 commentary “Folks in blue get the blues, too — to a deadly degree” by Clarence Page. As a career and now retired law enforcement officer with more than 39 years in the business, I appreciate the attention given to the deaths of our law enforcement officers by their own hand. This constant tragedy occurs in our country at an alarming pace, but it’s kept under the rug.

The anti-police sentiment has increased the size of the targets on our backs and amplified the number of armchair quarterbacks who routinely criticize law enforcement officers’ lawful actions. What we need is the support and the respect from our communities for law enforcement officers who fulfill their commitments of protecting and serving.

There is a reluctance by officers to admit issues regarding depression or emotional instability. For many of us, it’s a sign of weakness and has a stigma associated with it. My agency implemented a law enforcement chaplain program that helped those who needed someone to talk to confidentially and created a path for those needing an employee assistance program or other external resource.

Instead of taking funds away from our law enforcement, more money should be used to improve intervention programs such as this. If you have never walked in our shoes to see the underbelly of our society and the horrors associated with it, you might not know that it takes its toll on our law enforcement 24/7. If you happen to come across officers doing their jobs, tell them how much they are appreciated. It goes a long way.

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