4 LA sheriff employees die by suicide within 24-hour period, department says

ByLuke Barr ABCNews logo
Friday, November 10, 2023
LASD in mourning after 4 employees die by suicide in 24-hour period
The Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department is in mourning after four current and former employees died by suicide within a 24-hour period.

Four members of the Los Angeles Sheriff's Department have died by suicide since Monday, according to a statement from the department.

The officers, whose names were not released out of privacy, were one former and three current employees, the department said.

"Our LASD family has experienced a significant amount of loss and tragedies this year," Sheriff Robert Luna said. "We are stunned to learn of these deaths, and it has sent shockwaves of emotions throughout the department as we try and cope with the loss of not just one, but four beloved active and retired members of our department family."

"During trying times like these, it's important for personnel regardless of rank or position to check on the well-being of other colleagues and friends," Luna continued. "I have the deepest concern for our employees' well-being, and we are urgently exploring avenues to reduce work stress factors to support our employees' work and personal lives."

The four employees all died within 24 hours of each other, according to the LASD.

The homicide bureau is investigating all four deaths.

This year alone, 83 law enforcement officers have died by suicide, according to First HELP, a first responders suicide group.

"These tragic deaths highlight the complexity of mental health," Melissa Swailes, a First HELP board member, told ABC News. "Despite the progress we have seen over the last few years, there is a lot of work that still needs to be done. This should be a wake-up call for every agency across the country, do not rest until wellness is truly a priority, not a checkbox."

Swailes lost her husband to suicide when he was a member of the LAPD in 2016.

If you are struggling with thoughts of suicide or worried about a friend or loved one, call or text the Suicide & Crisis Lifeline at 988 for free, confidential emotional support 24 hours a day, seven days a week.