Chicago Tribune

Alarms sound after 6 suicides by Chicago cops over 8 months: 'It's definitely worrying and demands attention'

CHICAGO - A dozen or so police officers gather once every month in the basement of an office building and talk - about handling holidays with families, about nightmares so bad they are reluctant to share a bed at night.

Most of the officers were involved in a shooting while on duty, and here they share stories of what that has meant. Sometimes they cry.

"This is what trauma looks like," says Carrie Steiner, a former Chicago cop turned therapist who runs the counseling center. "This is what PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) looks like."

Responding to that trauma is now a top challenge for the Chicago Police Department, where alarms are sounding after six officers killed themselves over the last eight months.

Last week, after the most recent suicide, Superintendent Eddie Johnson convened a small meeting of command staff and told them officer wellness was now his priority. To keep neighborhoods safe, his officers need to be healthy, he told the group.

Johnson formed a task force to examine the department's mental health services, according to his spokesman, Anthony Guglielmi, who was at the meeting.

And in a sign of changing attitudes, Johnson also sent his

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