POLICE SUICIDE STUDIES
The 2012 NSOPS (National Surveillance of Police Suicide) study was the third in a series of surveys examining law enforcement suicides throughout all fifty states. Ours have been the first scientifically conducted, case-by-case verifiable efforts to track police suicides in the United States and, at the same time, provide accurate profile information on the cases. Studies were completed for 2008, 2009, 2012 and 2016. The 2008 and 2012 studies were published in the International Journal of Emergency Mental Health, where the 2016 study will be published.
A study is currently underway for 2017.
Our studies are based on actual suicide cases gathered through a web-based, year long surveillance of news reports on police suicide. Only active duty police officers are included in the studies. Approximately 20,000 suicide-related news articles are scanned each year for information relating to police suicides in the United States. Information is also gathered by email and through social media. Within the final figures is an additional 37 percent added in to account for misreported, covered up and “hidden” suicides.
The results of our studies were revealing. We found, following these necessary adjustments, there were 141 police suicides in the US during 2008 and 143 in 2009. In 2012, there were 126 police suicides–a noticeable reduction. A six month sampling in 2015 showed 51 police suicides and the 2016 study showed a reduction to 108.
This result is in keeping with other current research by Dr. John Violanti, CDC and NOMS data, and other information available in the field today. Further, in comparing our data with information gathered by non-media sources, we found solid confirmation of our findings.