Updated: Sep 14, 2021
The Republican party and the FBI are reluctant to prosecute many of the violent insurrectionists even though they purport to be staunch supporters of "law and order." The Republicans do not want to hold their former president to account nor those who participated in the riot that injured nearly 140 police officers from two departments during the concerted pro-Trump & white-nationalist attack on the U.S. Capitol. There are many more officers who were injured but did not bother to report their injuries. Reported injuries include officers who suffered brain injuries, smashed spinal discs and one who is likely to lose his eye, according to the Capitol Police Union (as reported by the New York Times on Jan 28th). One Capitol Police officer died in the attack while two other officers died by suicide in the days and weeks following the violent and traumatic insurrection. Police suicide has been of growing concern in the nation. In 2020, former Attorney General Bill Barr reported that in 2019 "more officers died by suicide than were killed in the line of duty." The Joiner Interpersonal Psychological Theory of Suicide (Joiner, 2005) indicates that persons with a history of pain, trauma and violence will be most at risk for death by suicide when they perceive themselves as ineffective and feel like they don't belong. It is common knowledge the violence & trauma officers experience as part of the job can lead to longterm problems with depression, anxiety and PTSD. Couple that with a lack of support from leadership (failure to adequately equip officers & provide timely reinforcements) and the burden that comes with being part of a department increasingly scrutinized for its ineffective response to the most significant riot this century - and we can see why suicide risk among Capitol Police Officers is of growing concern. Employee Assistance Programs (EAP), mental health providers, and peer-support staff should be on high alert; screening officers for increased suicide ideation, conducting wellness checks and providing treatment when needed for all law enforcement personnel involved in defending the Capitol and the nation's democracy against white nationalism. -by Dr. Daniel L. Hollar
About the author: Dr. Hollar holds a PhD in Clinical Psychology and serves as the Department Chair of Psychology at Bethune-Cookman University. His private research-based consulting firm is tackling difficult issues related to Police officer suicide, screenings for fitness-for-duty, cultural competency, mental health and financial wellness among law enforcement personnel.
For more information you can reach Dr. Hollar online at Daninger Solutions, Inc (www.daningersolutions.com).