Welcome to the 14th Command Post! In this episode, we’re discussing the Police Executive Research Forum’s Symposium on Preventing Police Suicide and a program that was created specifically for this purpose: the HEROES Project.

Join Sgt. Ryan as he takes the mic and hosts me, Dr. Renee. Kosor, in our discussion about the realities of the suicide crisis the law enforcement profession is facing. To open the show, Sgt. Ryan shows his creative and poetic side, with a soliloquy he wrote to share the emotional turmoil that first responders live with:

Sgt. Ryan

What leads to police suicide?

It’s the darkness. It’s living in the shadow of a thousand haunting things that blend in the mind into one hostile immensity.
It’s all the dead bodies and the abject agony of those who grieve them.
And it’s the chilling cruelty of those who grieve no one.

It’s the sinister sounds, the tortured cries of the souls shattered in your presence.
It’s the insidious auditory apparitions that roll around your ears.

It’s the horror, the horror of stepping directly into the path of dark hearts and their ghoulish acts.

And the victims, it’s the victims who suffer unimaginable pain right in front of your eyes. And it’s knowing that we can do nothing to help.

And the isolation, the feeling that no one could ever reach the place where we’re hurting.

Where does a cop go with his pain?

It’s indescribable. It’s knowing an evil so powerful and dark that it inhabits a place where words don’t dare go. And so the fear and the hurt go unnamed.
Who will ever understand the pernicious poison pushed through the veins of a cop?

And it’s the hatred, the seething sneers of those with venom in their eyes and hatred in their hearts. When people despise you long enough it leaves a mark on your soul.

And it’s our mythology, the stories we tell ourselves we’ll be a part of: stories where we do some good, slay a dragon, save a life, earn a moment of rest. Where do we go with our shattered dreams?

This is where the hopeless heart can crumble. Under the weight of all these things (and a thousand more) we seek to escape. We seek, as Keats wrote, “To cease upon the midnight with no pain.”

But if we hope to help this is where we must start, “In the foul rag and bone shop of the heart.”

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The Command Post

Where First Responders work together to improve the lived experiences of their fellow First Responders.