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New Britain — About 300 law enforcement personnel attended an all-day conference Wednesday on police suicide prevention, during which speakers encouraged the audience to acknowledge something seemingly simple.
“Yes, you’re cops — but you’re human,” said Janice McCarthy, whose husband, a state Trooper in Massachusetts, committed suicide in 2006.
Wednesday’s conference, presented by the Connecticut Alliance to Benefit Law Enforcement, Inc., or CABLE, was in response to a rash of recent police suicides in the state.
Statewide, four police officers have committed suicide this year, including Groton City Lt. Thomas Forbes, who killed himself in his office in June.
The conference was designed to challenge the stigma of seeking help, organizers said, and to suggest resources that agencies can use in addition to an Employee Assistance Provider, of EAP.
Kenneth Edwards, a former New London police officer who is now president of CABLE and an inspector with the Office of the Chief State’s Attorney, said in his opening comments that police are not as effective at helping the public if they don’t take care of themselves.
“We’re not much use to those people who need us the most,” Edwards said, if police aren’t at their best.
Staff from Groton City and Town, New London, Norwich and Waterford police departments were in attendance.