The leader of America's largest police department is calling for the law enforcement profession to address "a mental-health crisis" after a third NYPD member killed himself in a span of 10 days.
NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill made the remarks in a statement Friday, after, police said, a 29-year-old officer on Staten Island took his life near the 121st Precinct earlier in the day.
"This is a mental-health crisis. And we — the NYPD and the law enforcement profession as a whole — absolutely must take action. This cannot be allowed to continue," he said.
On June 5, Assistant Chief Steven Silks of Queens North Borough Command took his own life in his department car. A day later, Brooklyn Det. Joseph Calabrese, a married father of four, killed himself in a parking area off the Belt Parkway, police said.
O'Neill's statement included resources where NYPD employees can call to get help for themselves or, confidentially, for someone else. "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 — in fact, it’s a sign of great strength," he said.
The officer who died Friday was shot around 3:45 p.m. on a Staten Island street, police said. O'Neill called him "a promising 29-year-old officer with six years on the job."
The resources included in O'Neill's statement are the Employee Assistance Unit at 646-610-6730, the Chaplains Unit at 212-473-2363 and Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance at 888-267-7267.
"Cops spend so much of their days assisting others," O'Neill said. "But before we can help the people we serve, it is imperative that we first help ourselves."