Chicago Police Officer Commits Suicide on New Year’s Day

January 2, 2019 Updated: January 2, 2019

A Chicago police officer committed suicide on Jan. 1, the Chicago Police Department said.

Officer Dane Anthony Smith, 36, shot himself at his house in the Jefferson Park neighborhood in the northwest part of the city, according to CBS.

He was off-duty at the time.

Smith worked at the Chicago Police Department headquarters.

Smith’s death on Tuesday came after four Chicago officers were killed in the line of duty in 2018, and at least three committed suicide in the final six months of the year.

According to Massachusetts-based Blue H.E.L.P, which advocates for mental help for law enforcement, the Chicago police officer’s suicide was the first among law enforcement this year.

The organization said that it verified 159 suicides in 2018 and 159 suicides in 2017.

In a statement, the Fraternal Order of Police said it was “devastated to report that another Chicago police officer has taken his life.”

“We ask that everyone keep this officer and his family in your prayers,” the organization added.

The organization posted a link on its Facebook page to an employee assistance program available to police officers that provides free and confidential programs to all active and retired department members and their families.

“This unit was established in order to assist department members in the management of the demands of their job, and its impact on their family and professional life,” according to the description of the program.

While Chicago is still crime-ridden, the murder rate went down for the second straight year, according to data from the Chicago Police Department. There were nearly 100 fewer murders in 2018 compared to 2017—a 15 percent drop.

Meanwhile, since 2016, murders as a result of a shooting have declined 31 percent in total.

This double-digit reduction was the greatest drop in homicides of any major American city, outpacing New York (0.37 percent drop), Los Angeles (9.2 percent drop) and Houston (6.64 percent drop), according to the data published Dec. 31.

Shootings, in general, are down by 32 percent in the city since 2016. But Chicago, the third largest city in the United States still had more murders than the combined total in New York City and Los Angeles, the No. 1 and No. 2 largest U.S. cities, respectively.

Chicago Police Officer Samuel Jimenez
An honor guard carries the casket of slain Chicago Police Officer Samuel Jimenez to the hearse following funeral services at the Chapel of St Joseph at Shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe in Des Plaines, Illinois, on Nov. 26, 2018. (Kamil Krzaczynski/Getty Images)

Suicide Statistics and Prevention

According to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention, suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the United States and in 2017, 47,173 Americans died by suicide while 1.3 million people attempted suicide.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released a report Vital Signs: Trends in State Suicide Rates on June 8, 2018, revealing that suicide rates have increased by 30 percent since 1999. However, the report points out that there were a variety of factors other than mental health conditions that lead to suicide.

“Suicide rates increased significantly across most states during 1999–2016. Various circumstances contributed to suicides among persons with and without known mental health conditions,” the report stated.

If you or someone you know is showing signs that they might be suicidal, the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is available 800-273-TALK. You can also text the Crisis Text Line at 741741.

Epoch Times reporter Bowen Xiao contributed to this report.

From NTD News

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber