To Protect and to Serve

Last Friday night, Kansas City and Liberty Missouri Police Officers responded to a missing/endangered person call near I-35 and Cookingham Drive in an area bordering Liberty and Kansas City. The call quickly turned into a call that officers and first responders fear most— the endangered person was one of their own, a ten-year department veteran who made the tormented and gut-wrenching decision to attempt to take his own life.
That single call for service for those responding officers will forever be etched in their memories as “that one call.” Imagine the gut-knot and the chill that runs up the spine when the game changes in an instant, after the radio crackles, that they were now searching for a member of the family.
The officer was transported to an area hospital in critical condition after sustaining a self- inflicted gunshot wound to the head. The officer’s family decided to donate his organs, and he remained on life support over the weekend awaiting organ donor recipients. He passed away on Monday.
That makes this News Dog stop and think for a moment. This brave first responder will continue to serve in the lives of those who receive his organs through life-saving transplants. For the family to make this unbelievably selfless decision in light of the circumstances gives one a little insight into the mindset of first responders.

With everything first responders go through on a daily basis, this thin blue and red line supporting news pooch has the utmost appreciation and respect for the jobs they do in the community, often under, shall we say, less than desirable circumstances.

This event brings a sad tragedy to light an ever-growing issue that bears addressing: the mental health of first responders across the country. According to Blue Help LLC, an organization that honors the service of Law Enforcement Officers who died by suicide, verified officer suicides are on the rise. In 2018, officer suicides in the United States topped 160 (almost one suicide every two days). Less than six weeks into 2019, twenty-six officer suicides have been reported. If that trend continues, the 2019 numbers are on pace to top 200, spotlighting the need for a stronger mental health safety net for Police and Fire personnel across the country.

Both KCFD and KCPD have internal support programs for those who may be at risk. Additionally, the Police Department’s Chaplain Program has recently been overhauled and now offers support for officers on a 24/7 basis following traumatic crime scene events such as the one last Friday evening.
Officers, firefighters and EMS personnel often have to process grim scenes or continue to fight a fire while co-workers are severely injured or killed on the job without the opportunity to “take a minute” because they had a job to do. Those responders couldn’t pause, couldn’t step back for a minute and couldn’t walk away.

This News-Dog will continue to keep the Kansas City, MO Police Department in our thoughts and prayers during this difficult time. We would also be remiss if we did not include the National Suicide Prevention hotline as a resource for anyone who is considering suicide. The number is 1-877-273 TALK (8255) or online at suicidepreventionlifeline.org.

Want Northeast News articles sent straight to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
Enter your email address and click on the Get Instant Access button.
We respect your privacy

Comments are closed.

  • More ‘blame game’ from the mayor

    July 17th, 2019
    by

    During last week’s Board of Police Commissioners meeting, lame duck Mayor Sly James continued to place blame for the city’s […]


    Demand accountability

    July 10th, 2019
    by

    Layne Stracener At least seven children have died in immigration custody since last year, after almost a decade in which […]


    Twenty-one and counting

    July 3rd, 2019
    by

    The Northeast News celebrates yet another milestone birthday this  month as we turn 21 years-old under the ownership of Michael […]


    Tax at 1900% and counting

    June 26th, 2019
    by

    If you’re one of the thousands of Jackson County residents who recently received a new property assessment letter that made […]


    Taxation without justification

    June 19th, 2019
    by

    As the Jackson County Assessors’ statements continue to drop in mailboxes across the county, property owners are getting the shock […]


  • Elections Matter

    June 12th, 2019
    by

    It is oft said of elections that those who stay home on Election Day decide elections. This civically-inspired News Dog […]


    The Happy Dog Dance

    June 5th, 2019
    by

    Late Friday afternoon, the Mattie Rhodes Center announced that Mayor Pro Tem Scott Wagner will be the next executive director […]


    We the People…

    May 29th, 2019
    by

    When Mayoral Candidates Quinton Lucas and Jolie Justus released their candidate forum schedule after their primary election wins, this Dog […]


    Doing your election homework

    May 22nd, 2019
    by

    It’s certainly been an interesting ride on the Mayoral campaign trail with each candidate releasing “key” endorsements. For those unfamiliar […]


    Mayoral Candidate Questions Vol. II

    May 15th, 2019
    by

    Last week, we urged questions to be asked of the two Mayoral candidates about transparency in the Arts Community and […]


  • What’s Happening

    BOE postpones consideration of property tax cap proposal

    The Board of Equalization has postponed the consideration of a proposal that would cap the increase in property tax increases at Thursday's BOE meeting.

    Arrests made on Bellaire Avenue early Thursday morning

    Michael Bushnell Northeast News KCPD Officers responded to the 100 block of Bellaire this morning on a sound of shots […]

    Indian Mound Neighborhood Association gets new leadership

    New leadership joins the Indian Mound Neighborhood Association board in Northeast Kansas City.

  • Want articles sent directly to your inbox each week? Subscribe below!
    We respect your privacy and will not distribute your information.