Officer fired for killing himself
(AP) – Jackson, WY
Officer Steven Matthews was terminated from the Brown River Police Department today for killing himself. City officials explained it was a “complicated” matter but wished Officer Matthews best of luck in the afterlife.
Officer Matthews had been an officer with the department for 8 years.
According to friends and family he had been dealing with PTSD as a result of a traumatic call in which a young child had died after falling in to a canal.
According to his wife Becky Matthews, “Steve would wake up with these awful dreams saying, ‘come back, come back,’ and he’d tell me it was the child he was trying to save.”
But the child would just walk down a dark hallway and away from him as he tried to save the kid. His pillow would be covered in tears and he’d be shaking for the next two hours, he usually couldn’t go back to sleep.”
According to Chief Davis, Officer Matthews was terminated as a result of numerous trips to the counselor and failure to successfully recover from his PTSD.
“Not to be cold or callous, we can’t afford to carry around dead weight,” the Chief voiced.
“The department did everything we could for Officer Matthews. We couldn’t afford to take him off patrol, or let him go to his counselor on-duty because we’re a small department and every officer counts,” according to Chief Davis.
“Ultimately Officer Matthews decided to kill himself, and we had to terminate his employment in order to save money on benefits,” said the Chief.
Chief Davis explained that due to the trauma and dealing with PTSD over the last several years, Matthews and his wife were regularly seeing a therapist to help him, as well as their marriage.
“Suicide is an awful, horrendous thing, as is PTSD. That’s why we recognized that his widow would probably be billing the insurance for additional counseling visits and we terminated his employment as soon as we heard to avoid the extra costs.”
It just makes sense
When asked if this was the best way to run a police department, Davis explained it was the only way that makes sense.
“I turn away police officer candidates every day, but my budget is always short. I have to repair broken cars, crumbling buildings, and radios that work in only half the city. Bones heal, metal doesn’t. People are incredibly resilient and I’m sure Mrs. Matthews will be fine.”
Mrs. Matthews said she appreciated the help from the department. “I really appreciate the support they gave me. A commander brought me a pamphlet on how to deal with grief.”
But, she says, maybe more could be done. ”I heard a statistic that more officers kill themselves than are murdered on the job each year. What if they treated mental health and PTSD with the same priority they give to the number of arrests and tickets each officer writes?
Mrs. Matthews recommended that a task force be formed but was quickly whisked away after making the request..
**Article submitted by follower of The Salty Sarge**
Author – Anonymous
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