Chicago PD top brass vows change after 2 officers die by suicide days apart

Chicago Police Superintendent David Brown has promised action after a police sergeant criticized the department’s response

By Suzie Ziegler 

CHICAGO — The Chicago Police Department is in mourning after a 15-year veteran of the department shot himself Friday, becoming its second officer to die by suicide in one week. 

According to the Chicago Sun-Times, Officer Jeffrey Troglia, 38, shot himself at his home. His death comes just four days after Officer James Daly, 47, was found dead from a gunshot wound in the men’s locker room at a Chicago police station. 

“It is with deep sadness that for the second time this week, I must share the difficult news of the death of one of our own in what appears to be a suicide,” Chicago Police Supt. David Brown said in a statement.

[READ: What LE leaders need to know about officer stress]

“Our deepest condolences go out to the officer’s family and friends, who are now grieving over this unimaginable tragedy,” Brown added. 

“These wrenching tragedies must be taken as a call to action,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said in a statement. “Our officers and other first responders are hurting and we simply must do more for these City servants who are sacrificing their mental health and their lives for our safety.” 

Chicago Police Sergeant Rick Nigro was dissatisfied with the response from top brass. In a letter obtained by ABC 7, Nigro called on Brown and Lightfoot, demanding change. 

"I need to say, I don't think we are doing enough here. There is something clearly wrong," Nigro said in the letter. “We are woefully unprepared to deal with the physical human stress that it takes upon us and I can say personally, it is a physical feeling.” 

According to ABC 7, Brown acknowledged that not enough had been done to promote officer mental health across the country and vowed to change that. Lightfoot’s office also released a statement offering support.

An officer who worked with Troglia told the Sun-Times that he thinks morale in the department is the lowest he’s ever seen it. 

A 2017 Justice Department report found the agency’s suicide rate was 60% higher than the nationwide average for officers, according to the Sun-Times.

[POLICING MATTERS PODCAST: Preventing police suicide]

Read Brown's full statement, obtained by ABC 7, below:  

The brave letter regarding the Chicago Police Department's response to Officer James Daly's death acknowledges what has long been known among members of this Department. Throughout the country, we have not done enough to promote mental wellness among police officers. I hear the same grief and pain within this letter reflected in my many conversations and focus groups with officers of all ranks. That is why I have vowed to change how we support each other - making officer wellness a pillar of my administration. To that end, I have brought on Alexa James to support and implement a comprehensive officer wellness strategy. While her role is new, Ms. James is no stranger to CPD, as she has been instrumental in developing and advancing our officer wellness and crisis intervention efforts as the CEO of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) here in Chicago. She brings to the Department years of experience and deep institutional knowledge around mental health and will be engaging our officers to foster a community of wellness at CPD both internally and externally. Together, we aim to bring meaningful change and build a workforce that feels both mentally strong and appreciated. I also want to create a culture where open-ended feedback, like what is contained within this letter, is welcomed, and encouraged. I again offer my sincere condolences to the friends and family of Officer Daly and assure everyone that the subject of officer wellness is never far from my mind.

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