Startling trend: Suicide by cop
Jennifer Auh reports on growing suicide rates in Idaho. Video by IdahoOnYourSide.comvideo
The Boise Chief of Police and the City Ombudsman are joining forces to combat suicide, including suicide by cop.
The calls for help from people, who are emotionally distressed, are continuously rising with close to 6,700 this year. That’s up from just 5,600 two years ago.
The Boise Community Ombudsman Pierce Murphy said he’s decided to conduct a review of the Boise Police Crisis Intervention Team program.
"The loss of a life is important issue for us, we’re paid to keep people safe, not to end their lives, but sometimes that must happen and it leaves tremendous trauma within organization," said Mike Masterson, Boise Police Chief.
Six months ago, a Boise police officer shot and killed a reportedly suicidal Troy Epperley, after they said he threatened two officers with a gun and refused to back down. That’s just one of the increasing cases, where a person committed suicide by cop, here in Idaho.
We also talked to an Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline volunteer. She said a suicide hotline saved her life when she was just 15.
"I didn't have close friends, both parents worked away from home. I just decided to go to the store, take a box of pills and swallow them all," said Nina Leary, ISPH volunteer.
She said she just needed someone to talk to, and with that in mind, community leaders want to improve police response.
So far, Boise police said their goal is to train more officers in crisis intervention and keep at least one of their trained officer on staff 24 hours a day.
In the future, they also hope a 24-hour Idaho Suicide Prevention Hotline will be available to take over all of the emotionally distressed calls in cases, where there is no threat of someone being harmed.