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Being a law enforcement officer has always been fraught with risk, as the next call a cop takes has the potential to be the last call. But the danger doesn’t stop there, as the stress of the job results in a high number of suicides within the profession.
With police under siege in America following the death of George Floyd, a top ranked member of the Chicago Police Department command staff has been found dead.
Deputy Chief Dion Boyd was found Tuesday morning at the Homan Square facility on the West Side, an apparent victim of suicide, according to CBS Chicago.
Chicago Police Supt. Brown confirms officer who died is Deputy Chief Dion Boyd.
Says he died by suicide.
— Megan Hickey (@MeganHickeyTV) July 28, 2020
“I am extremely saddened to share with you today the loss of a respected member of our command staff to suicide,” Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown said. “We are shocked, saddened at the loss, and it’s deeply felt by me and the many colleagues and friends with whom Deputy Chief Dion Boyd worked and mentored throughout his career.”
“Dion left people he loved here, and colleagues who loved him as well. Please, officers, please, stay humble, stay human, stay safe, stay well,” Brown added.
Boyd, 57, was just promoted on July 15 to deputy chief of CPD’s Criminal Networks Group, which oversees the narcotics, gang investigation, and vice divisions, and the department’s role in the CPD/FBI Violent Crimes Task Force, the CBS affiliate noted.
Three days after that promotion, Chicago police saw a full-scale attack by a left-wing mob looking to tear down a statue of Christopher Columbus — at least 18 officers were injured and some taken to nearby hospitals for treatment.
Boyd’s office was just a few miles from that attack, and Black Lives Matter protesters had gathered at the facility on June 24, demanding that it be shut down.
Among the signs carried was a banner that read: “No good cops.”
#BlackLivesMatter protesters have been marching through Chicago’s North Lawndale neighborhood for the last hour.
— agitator in chief (@soit_goes) July 25, 2020
The Cook County medical examiner said an autopsy was scheduled for Wednesday.
Even before the Black Lives Matter riots and the attacks on law enforcement, a record number of suicides by current or former cops took place last year, ABC News reported, citing the non-profit Blue H.E.L.P.
In 2019, 228 current or former officers died by suicide, compared with 172 in 2018, the group announced on Thursday.
And CPD’s officer suicide rate was more than 60% higher than the national average, according to a 2017 Justice Department review, which said suicide was a “significant problem” in the department.
There’s no indication that the recent unrest played a role in Boyd’s death, but Brown referenced current events in appealing to officers who may be struggling to reach out for help.
“The job of a Chicago police officer is not easy, particularly in a time where there is intensified stress. Everyday life can seem insurmountable at times for anyone, but for police officers the stakes are even higher due to the tireless work that they do to safeguard others,” Brown said.
“If you see any signs that your colleagues are having trouble coping with stress, please check in on them and let them know you’re there,” he said.
Mayor Lori Lightfoot took a break from feuding with the Trump White House to offer her condolences — even though she has resisted efforts to have federal agents assist in controlling violent crime in the city.
“We are truly at a loss of words by the death of Deputy Chief of Criminal Networks Dion Boyd, who passed away last night,” she tweeted.
We are truly at a loss of words by the death of Deputy Chief of Criminal Networks Dion Boyd, who passed away last night.
— Mayor Lori Lightfoot (@chicagosmayor) July 28, 2020
In a series of tweets, Lightfoot talked about bolstering the support network for first responders and told officers they “are deserving of help and healing.”
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