KANSAS CITY, Kan. — A more than 24-hour standoff with a Kansas City police officer Monday and Tuesday is bringing new attention to the stress cops face on the job.
Last year nationwide more police died by suicide, 140, than were killed in the line of duty, 129, according to a study by the Ruderman Family Foundation.
The standoff began at 3 a.m. Monday at the Holiday Inn Express and Suites at 39th and Rainbow in KCK when family expressed concerns about the welfare of the female KCMO officer and her two children inside.
KCKPD’s Tactical Unit and Crisis Intervention Team camped outside of the hotel for hours.
“There’s no timelines, and there will never be a timeline unless there’s a danger to the community,” KCK Tactical Unit Commander Kelly Herron said.
The KCMO officer has been with the department for 22 years but had been on administrative assignment since May, suffering from possible post traumatic stress disorder, officials said.
KCK Police Maj. Rance Quinn coordinated the response to try to get the officer and her children out safely and knew just what that officer could be going through.
“Every officer has their own stories. We all carry around this baggage that, if we don’t process that in a good way, it can have a negative impact,” Quinn said.
Quinn is a mental health instructor within the department and said things have changed since he got into law enforcement.
“Thirty years ago, if I came forward and said, ‘Hey I’m having a problem. I can’t cope with this,’ chances are you were shunned,” he said.
Now, the department has mandated yearly wellness exams for officers in certain units like homicide and those dealing with child abuse. Officers can also get up to six free anonymous visits to a mental health clinician each year, and the department has a peer support team.
With the help of Lenexa police and the FBI, Quinn and the rest of KCKPD’s Crisis Intervention Team were able to communicate with the officer to negotiate a peaceful end to the standoff that went on for more than 24 hours.
“It’s OK to talk about it. It’s OK to seek help. It’s OK to be human,” Quinn said.
KCMO police released a statement Tuesday in which the agency thanked KCK police for its patience and professionalism.
“The KCPD is proactive when dealing with the health and wellness of our members, and we have many resources available to them. We want all our employees to be healthy, happy and well so that they can best serve the members of the community. We wish this officer the best in her treatment and recovery,” the statement read.
The officer was taken to a local hospital for evaluation, and her children were released to the care of family.
If you are having suicidal thoughts, we urge you to get help immediately.
Go to a hospital, call 911 or call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-SUICIDE (1-800-784-2433).
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