The union chief of the New York Police Department offered a message on mental health, challenging politicians to take action after the force suffered its ninth suicide this year.
The message came after another off-duty officer was found dead in an apparent suicide, Fox News reports.
New York Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch used his statement to first address those officers who struggle with depression or who may be contemplating suicide: “If you’re on the edge and contemplating suicide, don’t f—ing do it. Come on, it solves nothing and leaves devastation behind you. Just don’t do it.”
Fox News reports:
But Lynch, known for his fiery defense of his fellow officers on the ground, also used the video message to call on politicians to back the city’s officers, stop demonizing them and do more than what he described as “a few tweets and mental health awareness posters.”
“To the politicians proclaiming this is a crisis, just stop, we’ve been very clear about what we need, provide mental health benefits that will cover the high-quality professional treatment we need and accommodate us when we’re in crisis,” he said.
Two police officers died by suicide this week, bringing the number of NYPD officers who have taken their own lives to nine this year and bringing the problem of police suicides to national attention.
In 2018, at least 159 officers nationally died by suicide, 9 percent more than the total number of officers killed in the line of duty, according to Blue H.E.L.P., a nonprofit run by active and retired police officers. New York state had one of the highest numbers of officer suicides, with 10 officers dying by suicide in 2018. Only Texas and California suffered more police suicides.
While Lynch did not name any politician, he paid special attention to the anti-cop rhetoric peddled by some lawmakers and other liberal groups.
“End the demonization and anti-cop rhetoric, reduce the bureaucratic torment of the job rather than adding to it all the time, pay us like other police officers and treat us like professionals – you are offering none of that,” he said in the statement, addressing the lawmakers. “Instead, you continue to grandstand on the back of police officers, and show up when we’re dead, you continue to find new ways to undermine our work and torture us whenever we turn up for work, and you think a few tweets and mental health awareness posters will make up for it – well it won’t.”
“We’re under siege from all directions and the only defense we have is each other. Never, under any circumstance, should you permanently walk away from the people who love you – and yes that includes us, your brother and sister police officers,” he continued via Fox News.
Check it out:
— NYC PBA (@NYCPBA) August 15, 2019
Fox News also reports Lynch is not the only public figure to raise an issue with anti-cop discourse and a failure on the government’s side to provide adequate care to its police officers:
Lynch is not the only police official to lose his patience with politicians’ rhetoric. On Thursday, the U.S. attorney in Philadelphia, William McSwain, ripped into city District Attorney Larry Krasner in the wake of the shooting of six officers in the city on Wednesday.
McSwain blamed Krasner for fostering what he called an environment of “disrespect for law enforcement” that emboldened the gunman to open fire at officers from the Philadelphia Police Department’s Narcotics Strike Force who were attempting to serve a warrant in the Nicetown neighborhood.
“Where does such disrespect come from?” McSwain said. “It started with chants at the DA’s victory party — chants of ‘F— the police’ and ‘No good cops in a racist system.'”