Nearly three times as many active-duty police officers committed suicide in the United States last year than were murdered in the line of duty, according to a new report. Indeed, an NYPD officer reportedly committed suicide while at work this very morning (as has happened inside LASD facilities in the past). As criminal justice blog Witness LA reports, this is often a result of administrative disregard, particularly for the unique stresses law enforcement officers face.
Indeed, as one retired deputy recently told KPCC’s REPEAT podcast (episode 5), LASD does very little to psychologically support its personnel, particularly those involved in traumatic incidents or traumatized by the department itself.
While LASD has lost several deputies in the line of duty over the past decade, we have lost more off-duty to suicide–including inside LASD facilities. While individual tragedies, they beg the question of whether the Department could have done–and could do–more.
And as jarring as these statistics are, consider this: these numbers do not include former police officers/deputies. Those whose dream it was to be a police officer, who served with honor and distinction, and whose lives were nonetheless destroyed for reasons of internal departmental politics or vague musings about “liability”.
Which raises the difficult question: how are the hundreds of deputies fired by Jim McDonnell in the last three years doing? Has the Department done anything for them? Does McDonnell even give a shit?
While that may sound harsh–think about it: is there any evidence he does, particularly when firing deputies has become an act of first resort?
LASD.News knows first-hand there are good men and women who have been treated very poorly and are having a very hard time right now.
Now we are hearing from sources that some former deputies may have taken their own lives after being terminated by McDonnell.
We hope this isn’t true–but we have heard, and we suspect, that it is. Because we know terminated deputies who are, at this moment, in a very bad and lonely place, utterly abandoned by McDonnell and his self-righteous Kangaroo Court.
If someone asked LASD, would they even know? No, they wouldn’t, and they wouldn’t want to. Because people have been abruptly cut off from the department and not having anything to do with them is exactly the point. If you’re still active on the Department, it can happen to you. But you already know that–as prospective applicants do–which is why our recruiting cannot keep pace with attrition.
None of the fired deputies LASD.News is aware of was a dirty or abusive cop. None violated the public trust, none committed crimes or policy violations of integrity or moral turpitude. All were hard workers, with high integrity, who either made mistakes which have never been fireable offenses, were fired by McDonnell’s lawyers, or who had cases contrived against them–even as evidence mounts daily of malfeasance by McDonnell himself and those around him.
We stand tall to fight evil on our streets. We must stand tall to fight it within our own house.
This reporter knows no fewer than 10 deputy sheriffs who have been fired in the last three years (an insane number at any time)–and none were for reasons which objectively warranted termination. Their dreams shattered, their marriages wrecked, their kids taken away or living with others, their finances destroyed, living with family or in cars, their sense of self and meaning and worth obliterated. Troops utterly betrayed by their leaders. All are living in a state of deep depression, cut off from their support network and much support. We know some are having a very hard time. Thank you to those who are there for them (and for each other).
These are good people having their lives destroyed by bad people, abetted by cowards. Good people who put their lives on the line to fight bullies and those who victimize, who are now being bullied and victimized themselves.
Arbitrarily or extra-judicially terminating people has practical consequences, too. Consider:
- The staggering amount of back pay now being awarded by courts and civil service to deputies LASD has treated unfairly or illegally
- Lawyers fees, often for cases which drag on for years
- Compounded by possibly decades of reduced productivity and bitterness the department will get from a person reinstated after being so deeply scorned
- To say nothing of turning people who care about the organization into whistle-blowers, whether Dep. Michael Coberg, the team at Surruo.com, the authors of this site, or the many others who tip us and the media off on leads to pursue
- The law enforcement power down in Los Angeles County and resultant increase in crime–which even Sheriff McDonnell recently admitted was probably not reflected in crime stats because the public is losing faith in the rule of law
It’s up to the good people, of strong moral character, who remain to stand up for them and for what is right. We count such people as our tipsters–and we thank you for standing tall among the moral midgets running the self-preservation and promotional rat race at LASD.
Of the deputies fired with civil service protection, some will get their jobs back–bullied into plea deals to regain their badge while agreeing not to sue the county. Their spirit broken, but at least they can catch up on their bills. That’s the scam. But those without civil service protection are out of luck: destroyed–often to make someone else inside LASD look good.
Despite locking up thousands of serious criminals, they have not been issued CCWs to protect themselves (like wounded retired deputies who are having theirs revoked). They were not afforded any counseling. They’ve just been kicked to the curb, with little to comfort them but the memory of a once noble institution.