CPD Supt. Brown says department’s mental health is top priority after 3rd Chicago police officer commits suicide this month

CHICAGO (WLS) – Three Chicago police officers took their own lives in July, prompting the department to once again ramp up its support and raise awareness of mental health services.

CPD Director David Brown said at a news conference on Monday that the mental health of officers is a top priority for the department, especially when, he said, security controls have never been harder.

“This is a difficult situation for the Chicago Police Department,” Brown said.

Brown said he is working to address the stigma around seeking mental health help within the department, both before and during the crisis.

“The stigma even when talking to someone in our profession is a challenge,” says Brown. “Many officers see it as a sign of weakness.”

RELATED: Suicide Prevention: New 988 Hotline is 911 for Mental Health Emergencies

The most recent death comes just day after day CPD officer found dead in home by suicide and a few weeks later Officer Patsy Swank took his own life.

“She was the most beautiful, cheerfully loving, compassionate,” her brother Ryan Clancy said. “She’s always there for people. She takes care of those she loves and goes out of her way to protect and serve others.”

Clancy, like other family members of the officers who died by suicide, said among the biggest challenges they face in terms of mental health is overwork.

“It’s a crisis,” he said. “I think there are places to look for help, but when you’re overworked with these people, no days off, long hours; really no time to talk to someone.”

Julie Troglia, wife of the late Ofc. Jeff Troglia, who died by suicide in 2021, agrees.

“We have resources for them, but they can’t use them because they’re working non-stop. Stop canceling holidays,” she said. “They were pushed to the limit and they were all pushed into a corner.”

Troglia also said the stigma about seeking help gets worse for officers when they don’t have time to take care of themselves.

The identity of the third officer has not yet been released.

“We ask that the city wrap its arms around this sergeant’s loved ones as they mourn his loss. Please take a moment to pray for the men and women of CPD, who are grieving next to this sergeant’s family,” the department said in a statement.

Jamay Nellum-Fane, a former CPD officer, said: “It is heartbreaking to learn that an officer has suffered so much stress and breakdown that they feel that their only way out is to take it away. his life”.

Having served 16 years with the Chicago Police Department before retiring in April, Nellum-Fane said the emotional stress of being a police officer has taken a toll.

“The holiday is canceledand then we have to be realistic – the stress our officers are having to answer calls – people with guns, people getting shot, batteries in water, child abuse, sexual assault,” she said.

She said stress partly led to her retirement.

“I went through that dark period, dealing with depression, dealing with PTSD, dealing with post-traumatic stress. It was just too much. It was overwhelming,” Nellum-Fane said.

“We can always do a better job of keeping our brothers and sisters in mind in trying to bring attention to potential moments of crisis where we can intervene,” said Fraternal President John Catanzara The Order of Police said in a statement.

RELATED: Chicago’s 22nd Police District Hosts First ‘Healthcare Fair’ to Help Officers Mental Health

Both the FOP president and Nellum-Fane agree that more can be done.

“I think they have to be more creative and really assign counselors, social workers, whatever the case, to the actual counties,” Nellum-Fane said.

In response to a tweet by the Chicago Police Department on Sunday, Mayor Lori Lightfoot responded:

“Know that we hear you and are working tirelessly to ease the mental and physical burden on our police officers.”

If you feel suicidal or are worried about someone you know, you can call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 988. You can also text the Crisis Line by texting TALK to 741741.

For more information, visit

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