Dothan (WTVY)-- The number of law enforcement officers committing suicide was, until recently, six times greater than those killed by criminals.
The number has dropped dramatically—the ratio is now about one to one. An expert claims the reduction is directly related to training.
“The stress of law enforcement is unlike any other occupation. Fire and EMS see bad things but law enforcement see bad people doing bad things,” Tim Rutledge said Monday. He is founder of Law Enforcement Alliance for Peer Support (LEAPS) and is in Dothan this week conducting training.
“We want to teach these (officers) how to take care of each other emotionally. The life expectancy of a cop is about 59, about 20 years less than everybody else. We’re number one in suicide, heart attacks, and things like alcohol abuse,” Rutledge said.
He believes all numbers will drop with better communication and if officers learn not to keep their emotions bottled up inside. “If we don’t tear down these walls we die early.”
Law enforcement officers from several southern states are attending the four day Leaps Training session.