AAS condemns the violence and actions of those involved with the insurrection that took place last week at the US Capitol. The US Capitol Police lost two officers: USCP Officer Brian Sicknick, whose death is directly connected to mob violence, and USCP Officer Howard Liebengood, who died by suicide. Our hearts go out to their families, their loved ones, and to their brothers and sisters in the Capitol Police force. One of the most common responses to a suicide death is to ask, “why?” While suicide is a leading cause of death for both those in law enforcement and men in middle age, there is rarely a single cause. A majority of suicides are the fatal result of a number of complex factors, and this is likely the case with Officer Liebengood.
Anyone experiencing thoughts of suicide or find themselves in a mental health crisis can reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. Individuals in law enforcement can reach the Crisis Text Line by texting BLUE to 741 741.
In an effort to understand why, some have speculated that Officer Liebengood’s death is connected to last week’s events at the US Capitol. AAS recommends the use of Psychological Autopsies in instances of suicide deaths to better understand what contributed to said death. The use of such programs, including providing opportunities like the AAS Law Enforcement Psychological Autopsy Certification Training, can help to create a well-prepared police force and help officers feel confident, competent, and equipped to handle suicide crises of their colleagues.
– The AAS Team