Off-duty Chicago cop found dead from apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound in Norwood Park

The unidentified 58-year-old female officer was found Thursday morning in the 5800 block of North Northwest Highway.

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A Chicago police badge hangs in front of the City of Chicago Public Safety Headquarters on December 1, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. Following public outcry over the way police handled the shooting death of Laquan McDonald by Officer Jason Van Dyke, Mayor Rahm Emanuel today announced he had fired Chicago Police Superintendant Garry McCarthy. McCarthy, Emanuel and Cook County States Attorney Anita Alvarez have been accused of trying to cover up the shooting. (Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images)

The Chicago Police Department has sought ways to address the mental health crisis affecting officers who are often overworked and exposed to trauma.


An off-duty Chicago police officer was found dead Thursday morning after suffering an apparently self-inflicted gunshot wound in Norwood Park, marking the latest suicide this year in a department grappling with a mental health crisis.

The officer, a 58-year-old woman, was discovered about 9:20 a.m. in the 5800 block of North Northwest Highway, according to an alert from the city’s Office of Emergency Management and Communications.

She had apparently shot herself and was pronounced dead on the scene, according to the alert.

Police representatives didn’t immediately respond to requests for comment. A law enforcement source said she had been inactive for more than a decade but remained on the police force.

The police department, the Fraternal Order of Police and members of the City Council have all sought ways to address to address mental health issues affecting officers who are often overworked and exposed to trauma.

More than a dozen such deaths have been reported in the police department since 2018, at least six this year.

After a cluster of suicides in the summer, the department’s former mental health adviser decried the practice of routinely canceling officers’ days off as “inhumane” and called for a sweeping plan to address psychological issues within the ranks.

“They really see these horrific, triggering events all the time that they’ve compounded,” Alexa James, chief executive of the National Alliance on Mental Illness Chicago, told the Sun-Times in July. “And when you’ve compounded levels of trauma, and with no opportunity to kind of debrief unless you’re forced to, it can become increasingly likely that you develop stress disorders, depression [and] anxiety.”

Police Supt. David Brown announced changes in late August aimed at giving officers more time off. The policy shift came just a day after Inspector General Deborah Witzburg issued a scathing report showing the department scheduled nearly 1,200 officers to work at least 11 straight days earlier this year.

Within days of Brown’s announcement, an active officer and a recently retired cop both died by suicide.

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