2012 Police Suicides: the NSOPS Study

Source: Ron Clark, Andy O’Hara, Badge of Life Police Mental Health Foundation, January 4, 2013

Badge of Life has completed its annual survey of police suicides. Known as NSOPS (National Study of Police Suicides), this is our third in a series of studies that began in 2008.

It will take us several months to review our data and profiles of cases, but one thing is already clear: police suicides took a noticeable drop in 2012. We are the first group to track police suicides on a scientific basis and this is the first reduction we have seen since we began monitoring them in 2008. This is encouraging news that we tentatively attribute to the increased number of departments adopting peer support programs and the increased willingness of officers, many of them younger, to seek professional assistance—not only when they have a problem, but before problems develop (through things like annual “mental health checks”). Other factors may be involved, as well, and we will keep you advised through our newsletters, website and, of course, the final published study. Our studies show the following:

2008 police suicides: 141
2009 police suicides: 143
2012 police suicides: 126