Could there be controversy brewing underneath the surface at the Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department?
Sadly, this is the question any reasonable person is forced to ask themselves after four current and former Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department employees committed suicide over a 24 hour span, according to a new report from the LA Times.
Sheriff Robert Luna urged his deputies to check on the health of their co-workers and friends, stating: “We are stunned to learn of these deaths, and it has sent shock waves 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,” he added.
He also claimed the department was “urgently exploring avenues to reduce work stress factors to support our employees’ work and personal lives.”
Department sources, preferring anonymity due to the ongoing probe, indicated no connection or foul play in the recent deaths, including that of former and current employees, with three suicides occurring in a day.
Cmdr. Darren Harris, notable for his 25-year media presence and a key department spokesperson, was among the deceased, found in his Santa Clarita home from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot. Harris’ career included roles in media relations, Transit Services Bureau, and leading the Santa Clarita station. His death, while not officially confirmed, was disclosed by sources to The Times.
The LA Times also reported that on Monday, retired sergeant Greg Hovland was found dead at his Quartz Hill home. This was followed by another employee’s death in Stevenson Ranch after sunset, and a fourth suicide that occurred Tuesday morning at a Pomona hospital.
These incidents highlight the growing concern of law enforcement suicides in Los Angeles and nationally, where studies show officers face higher suicide risks than the general population, often linked to job stress and public scrutiny.
The department is offering counseling and support through its Psychological Services Bureau and Peer Support Program, as stated by Luna. Additionally, four other Sheriff’s Department employees have died by suicide this year, confirmed by spokesperson Nicole Nishida.
Sun, 11/12/2023 – 21:35