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.

  • Another Blue Ribbon Commission

    9 hours ago
    by

    Last Wednesday, Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas announced the formation of another blue ribbon commission deployed to “study” the upward […]


    When you’re on your own, we are there with you.

    March 31st, 2020
    by

    This week, the Dog is yielding space for a much more important message from The Missouri Press Association and the […]


    Support community journalism

    March 25th, 2020
    by

    Over the last few weeks, this community-minded Newsdog has seen an outpouring of support on social media for local businesses […]


    I’ll take panic and hysteria for $500, Alex

    March 18th, 2020
    by

    If anyone would have told this Newsdog a month ago that the United States would be living through what we […]


    Out of control

    March 11th, 2020
    by

    Last week, the second fire in as many weeks broke out in a large transient encampment in the wooded areas […]


  • Journalism, the Northeast News through an intern’s eyes

    March 4th, 2020
    by

    Kalie StrainEditorial Assistant I made the decision to major in journalism on a whim and it has been a wild […]


    Cut, cut, cut

    February 26th, 2020
    by

    The new City budget is out and, for all intents and purposes, it should have come with a pair of […]


    Community journalism, why it matters

    February 19th, 2020
    by

    Last week, McClatchy, the company that owns the Kansas City Star, declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy, transferring control of the city’s […]


    Time for change

    February 12th, 2020
    by

    Last weekend, the Newsdog traveled to Austin, Texas to assist with the Ronald Reagan Great Communicator Debate Series.  While visiting […]


    A bright light now gone

    February 5th, 2020
    by

    Kansas City lost a bright light earlier this week when noted journalist, radio host, foodie, and author Charles Feruzza passed […]


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