SAPD faces high number of officer suicides, peer support group responds

San Antonio – Former police officer Preston Kinikin recalls night sweats, night terrors with physically violent reactions, sudden rage, high anxiety, suicidal ideation, avoidance and isolation that he lived as an officer. After asking for help, he realized they were part of his PTSD and job trauma.

The founder of Warriors of Ramoth, an anonymous nonprofit support network, is concerned about the growing number of San Antonio police suicides.

On Monday, the agency reports that there have been six active duty officers who have committed suicide in the past five years, including four this year, and one retired officer.

“They are not a statistic. It is a person. They are a big part of their [family’s] life that is now gone,” Kinikin said.

Kinikin said he’s heard from leaders that the department has an open-door policy for officers in need of mental support, but what officers perceive is different.

“The members of your department must agree 100% with the knowledge. If I go talk to my boss, he will support me 100%. And I’m not going to get blackballed because they’re going to have my well-being at heart,” he said.

There is fear and stigma among officers who perceive that they will be removed from their jobs or that others will find out and their careers will be in jeopardy. Kinikin said the SAPD leadership had to step in to change that perception and save the lives of its own officers.

“If an individual doesn’t feel motivated by their perception and their emotions, that they have a command staff that supports them to ask any type of questions or mental health issues that they might have, then they’re going to keep it. for him,” Kinikin said. . “And when that happens, because they’re scared of the outcome or some type of adverse reaction occurring after asking for help. You have officers who keep going deeper and deeper into down the rabbit hole of the trauma they go through on a daily basis and then developing PTSD and the horrible symptoms that go with it all because of the stigma.

Kinikin said while many departments offer peer-to-peer and mental health counseling, he says more needs to be done to raise awareness of other outlets and services agents can turn to outside of the agency.

He also mobilizes other officers to support their fellow first responders, to be there for each other when their services are not.

Warriors of Ramoth, meets on the second, third and fourth Mondays at 6:30 p.m. at the River City Community Church, The Cantina Building.

Copline is a 24/7 confidential lifeline for crisis first responders, 1-800-267-5463.

The Texas Law Enforcement Peer Network is a statewide program that provides law enforcement with access to a trained peer to deal with stress, trauma, or fatigue. He uses an app to connect peers in the city or region.

KSAT also contacted the Bexar County Sheriff’s Office, and they said the BCSO had no active duty deputy suicides, but was providing information from the agency’s psychologist and a list of resources. available for assistants.

“In order to address this, we need to look at the major contributors to suicide in law enforcement and those are financial issues, relationship issues, isolation which also leads to substance abuse issues. We also know that people with a previous mental health diagnosis are at increased risk.

  • Financial planning and advice resources

  • Referrals for individual and couple consultation

  • References to crisis services

  • Liaison with BCSO Peer Support and Mental Health Unit

  • Annual Continuing Education on Officer Readiness and Resilience

  • 8 hours spent teaching resiliency and resources to cadets since 2020

  • Fully staffed and active volunteer peer support team that responds to critical incidents and is proactive about other assistant issues

  • Critical Incident Peer Support Policy that incorporates Texas Senate bill to provide mental health leave for officers after critical incidents

________________________________________________________________________

We all know the sad realities of suicide in law enforcement. It’s important that we recognize this and be open and honest with each other about it. The many risk factors associated with an officer’s suicide are legal or financial issues and relationship issues. When these occur, they lead to substance abuse and social isolation (International Association of Chiefs of Police, 2018). One suicide is too much and the way we can prevent those suicides is not only to be there for our brothers and sisters, but also to have real discussions among them and to connect members of Parliament with the resources that are available to them.

Financial planning and assistance

· Deer Oaks EAP website provides financial advice

or www.deeroakseap.com

o Scroll through the multitude of financial resources

· Primerica offers free financial advice and training

o https://www.primerica.com/pauljoperez

· Financial cop

o Strengthen the financial strength of officers | Financial cop

Individual and relationship advice

· Deer Oaks EAP First Responder Line

833-253-1129

o They can schedule you a couples counseling appointment for two weeks

· The Ecumenical Center

or 210-616-0885

o https://www.ecrh.org/counseling/appointments/

· San Antonio Behavior and Counseling Center

or 210-614-4990

o https://sacounselingcenter.com/meet-the-team

Addiction Counseling

· The right step

713-528-3709

o The Right Step Texas Addiction Treatment Centers | Good step centers

· New Day Recovery Services

or 210-334-0098

o Rehabilitation Center in San Antonio, TX – New Day Recovery Services

Crisis services

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

or 1-800-273-TALK (8255)

o Text 988

Application Responder Rel8

o Free app to connect with peer first responders across the country

o RR8Flyer.pdf (responderrel8.com)

· Mobile outreach in the event of a crisis

or 210-223-7233

BCSO Mental Health Unit

o Contact BCSO Dispatch at 210-335-6000

BCSO Peer Support Services

o Peers can help connect you with services and provide assistant support services”

Copyright 2022 by KSAT – All rights reserved.

Virginia S. Braud