Off-duty Chicago police officer dies by apparent suicide in Chicago Lawn District

The department says it is hiring more counselors to serve officers.

SHARE Off-duty Chicago police officer dies by apparent suicide in Chicago Lawn District
A Chicago police SUV

Sun-Times file

An off-duty Chicago police officer is believed to have killed himself Saturday, according to police officials.

The 47-year-old man was found inside a vehicle about 7:15 p.m. at an undisclosed location in the Chicago Lawn Police District and was pronounced dead at the scene, Chicago police said.

The Cook County medical examiner has not ruled on the cause and manner of the officer’s death.

Seven CPD officers died by suicide last year.

A 2017 U.S. Justice Department report found the suicide rate of Chicago police officers was 60% higher than the national average for members of law enforcement.

Police officials told the Sun-Times earlier this year they plan to increase the number of professional counselors available to officers. As of February, the department employed 17 toward a goal of having at least one counselor available for each of the city’s 22 police districts. There are about 11,600 sworn officers in the department.

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 7, the union that represents most Chicago officers, has also opened a counseling center in its headquarters.

A report from the city’s Inspector General’s Office last year criticized aspects of the department’s wellness program for officers, finding that it relied heavily on supervisors and fellow officers to identify officers who need mental health services without ensuring adequate training.

Help is available 24 hours a day through the Suicide and Crisis Lifeline by calling or texting 988.

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