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Sunday, August 12, 2007

(888) COPSCOP saves officers lives (and those they might have taken with them)


August 12, 2007

[Excerpts] Chris, a Brooklyn police sergeant, remembers the exact moment he decided to shoot himself. For months he'd battled job stress and marital problems by drinking heavily. "As much as I could get into me as fast as I could," he recalled. "I was out of control"...
If the NYPD found out, he'd lose his job. His life would be over. "I was scared," he said. "I didn't want to die and I didn't want to live. It was a pretty lonely place to be." But then he remembered
a pen he'd been given by a volunteer group of cops, the Police Organization Providing Peer Assistance hot-line number that had stuck in his head: (888) COPSCOP. They'd given , or POPPA, which comes to the aid of distressed fellow officers. The pen had printed on hit aa presentation during his promotion classes, talked about how one could get counseling and remain confidential. The bosses wouldn't have to find out. He called. "Within an hour there were two cops - a guy and a girl - with my wife in the ER, reassuring me that everything was going to be OK. There's this fear that your career is over. Basically they told me they were going to get me better." Their help saved his life, he said. Today it's more needed than ever... "We're very concerned," said Bill Genet, head of POPPA... Genet is now pushing the NYPD to conduct annual mental-health checkups for all officers. "The Commissioner's Office is very receptive to the concept," he said. "They just don't know how it can be worked out."
Confidentiality is the key to the success of his group... "There's a stigma to seeking help," he said, noting that officers often reject NYPD counseling for depression or alcohol abuse because requesting it automatically leads to the cop losing his gun and shield.
"You have a culture that has a very anti-mental-health mentality. It's 'Oh, be a man.' "... After taking a sick leave, Chris recovered. He didn't lose his job - and no one at his precinct ever found out what happened. He'll soon to be promoted to lieutenant, his marriage is intact, and he's the happy father of a daughter with another child on the way. "I'm eternally grateful to POPPA - they saved my life," he said...

1 comment:

  1. Contact Information:
    POPPA Inc.
    26 Broadway, Suite 1640
    New York, NY 10004-1898
    Telephone: 212.298.9111
    Fax: 212.233.0548


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