Another NYPD officer has taken his own life, the 10th to do so this year.
Sgt. Linhong Li, 33, shot and killed himself inside his Queens home Tuesday evening. The Sergeant, assigned to the 24th Precinct on the Upper West Side, was a seven-year department veteran. Before joining the NYPD, he had served in the Marine Corps, including in Iraq.
Prime Cause of Death
He graduated from the Police Academy in December 2012, earning the First Deputy Commissioner’s Award for attaining the class’s highest academic average. He was promoted to Sergeant in January 2018.
“While we can speculate about what demons caused Sgt. Li to take such drastic action, what is undeniable is that more police officers commit suicide each year than are killed by armed adversaries,” the president of the Sergeants Benevolent Association, Ed Mullins, said in a statement Wednesday.
According to Mr. Mullins, 159 officers nationwide took their own lives in 2018, while 144 died in the line of duty, 55 of them by gunfire and three by assault.
According to BLUE H.E.L.P., a Massachusetts-based nonprofit that advocates for officers’ mental health, 169 officers, including 24 who were retired, had killed themselves through Oct. 7—the same number who committed suicide all of last year.
Sergeant Mullins said the SBA would soon be launching a confidential physical/mental wellness program. “The policing profession is at a critical juncture, and innovative action needs to be taken,” he said.
The NYPD typically has four or five suicides annually. Four officers took their own lives in June alone.
In August, following the suicides of two officers in two days, department officials introduced several initiatives to forestall what threatened to become even more widespread.
Among the programs are three-hour sessions for Captains and higher ranks that address mental-health issues and the available resources and options for officers. The department has also deployed peer-support units that embed within commands. Those units will eventually total between 400 and 600 volunteer officers and other professionals.
The City Council has pending legislation that would require the department to hire additional clinicians to provide mental-health services and information to officers