This is a different type of post for me in that it’s actually a copy (including the cover photo), all used with permission, of a respected former law enforcement officer who has been dealt a double whammy ~ Cancer and PTSD. I simply cannot imagine. Life is funny; you start a new day, perhaps check your email, social media or simply plunge into work. Suddenly something jumps out and you’re immediately transported to another time, another place except not one you reminisce about because it’s associated with true horror, the worst of man yet the best of man. That’s what happened to me recently as a random tweet made its way to my Twitter feed. Miracle that I saw it as I haven’t had time for social media lately but had a few “down time” minutes and thought I’d take a break. I saw a tweet and the rest is history. I’ll go into more detail tomorrow with a personal post of where both retired Officer Lucas and I were during the same time frame and why his deperate plight resonates with me.
Tonight however I’d like to share something he wrote on his LinkedIn page on March 19, 2017. Please take the time to read his desperate words, his plea for help. Then please think about what he’s asking for. Opportunity. The joy of watching family grow. The security of a roof over his head.
Most of all ~ life.
This is Police Suicide: A Cry for Help With PTSD & Cancer
Published on March 19, 2017
Law Enforcement / Security Consultant
We must change the system and it starts with those charged with helping us when it is most needed! I am fighting for help due to police related PTSD & Stage 3 Renal Cell Carcinoma, Kidney Cancer. I am not just fighting for me. I want to quit this fight for help every single day now. I want to let whatever is happening to my mind-body and soul consume me and become yet another statistic. I want to scream out that I am done, it’s over. But I haven’t and if I am honest I am wondering why. This is not a suicide letter so please do not treat it as such but I have run out of words to express how burned out I am; An old friend and former colleague of mine who also served just took his life yesterday. A brother who only wanted to help others. If you ask me, we, and the very system he served ignored his cries for help. They were not always loud cries but they were for all to hear and see. It made me physically sick, especially knowing what he feels/felt. Knowing I am in my four plus years where I am now loudly begging for help. Yes, he asked for help but not loud enough they will say. He was afraid of losing his life-long career or being labeled a copout. He didn’t want to appear weak. Now, what is he? Well, they certainly won’t have to pay him benefits. His family is lost and we his brothers are checking off another mark on the board of stats. I am ashamed and upset today not because its close to home, but because he was and is me. The problem is the lack of “real” help available to people like us. The problem is a system that pushes us aside like we are not worth it causing others to do the same inadvertently. A system that blames us for not coming forward for help, but when we do, fights us to our deaths. A system that has the entire family of law enforcement not as concerned when they see obvious signs of an officer down so to speak. It’s almost as if you distance yourself from us because we are broken and might cause problems, but we are not broken. Almost like the old style of police supervisors who rather fire or transfer the problem officer so to avoid fallout. Reminds me of what is happening with departments all over the US when certain anti-police groups start protesting and the media grabs it like its black and white. Need I say more. The problem is we are all failing. Some of us have begged for help only to be completely ignored or considered a nuisance. Some, admittedly like myself, have even tried to raise funds for basics only to be brushed aside because we are not known, or we are grown men/woman. NO. We are your family. When one falls we all do because, in the end, we are all we have. Police, fireman, medics, military, anyone who has to protect and serve are in this family. If you want to think big picture here, we are all God’s children. To me in this family we are those who are charged with protecting others, therefore we are God’s chosen few.
I woke this Am from barely sleeping at all contemplating if it’s all worth it. Once you’re listed your blacklisted and that’s the truth. Your friends, family, and brotherhood remembers the good but criticizes the bad and then moves on. This for me was not just to write about my fight for help but for those of us who have run out of words and are ready to end it all. This is for those public safety men and woman who have ended it all leaving behind more broken souls. I reluctantly allowed a friend to create a Go Fund Me campaign to raise funds for me as a last resort. A campaign to keep a roof over my head and some basics to help ease the stress while I fight and deal with my Cancer and PTSD. I just cannot help but wonder why did it come to this anyway? If you are, or were, in law enforcement and served your country it should not take a year, let alone now four years in my case. If you ask for help now or after then there has to be a system in place to get it, period. I am to a point where my only option to not become homeless next month as a former detective, was to ask my law enforcement family for help. I even wrote to my Congress and Senator to help not just my case, but anyone suffering like this. It should not take a death or a horrible meltdown to get the help needed. Even so call pro-LEO organizations that advertise they help are overwhelmed with requests and thus far have been unable to offer any assist. The ones that do offer can only google local resources to pass you along. Resources that you have tried to get help from for years. It’s part of the broken system that has very little to help so many. Many like me fall through the cracks because of this and I have to write about a friend who ended his fight, not with words but an action of the worse kind.
It’s now March 2017, I am waiting once again for another disability hearing to have a Judge look at papers to decide my fate. Papers that tell a small story of my life. Papers that are the story of my fight for help. But they are not who I am. I’m more than four years of paperwork even if the paperwork is detailed and in black and white clearly tells of an injured police officer who needs help.
Why is it taking this long when society tells me to ask for help before it’s too late. I am worth it and so much more than PTSD & Cancer. I’m a decade plus of your calls for help. I’m the one who showed up at your door when your life was at its worse, or your loved one was killed. I’m the one who caught the bad guy who just raped and robbed. I’m the one who talked you off interstate 77 overpass because you felt lost. I’m the one who held your child while he breathed his last breath one hot afternoon in a warm pool of blood. I’m the one who responded to your loved one’s final resting place when US Airways flight crashed. I’m the one of many who guarded the days after 9/11 because you felt unsafe. I’m the one who prayed with you while you were trapped under your car. I’m the one who had to pull the trigger that night so you didn’t have to. I’m the one who looked beyond your issues to see why you’re in pain and prayed for you. We are the ones that year after year put on the badge not because we had to, because we wanted to. Not because I earned that $22hr, but because I’m called to do it for free if I could. I’m the one who took all these human tragedies home to my wife and children at their peril and ignored how sad I was inside. Here I am now typing this in tears because I wished I had never left the one thing that brought me so much joy and so much pain.
I know another long message with bad grammar from Joe. I am tired and I’m getting to a breaking point and really ask yourself should I be blamed? Should he be blamed for wanting this to be over. I guess I come to you for help because I am tired of fighting alone. In the end, I’m fighting for very little monthly and minimal medical coverage just so I can be a good father again. Just so I do not leave them like my friend abruptly left his children. As I sit here I wonder the state of my brothers and sisters out there who are suffering who won’t come forward for help. If they knew what I’ve been through many wouldn’t and this scares me. I am just so tired of seeing so many leave us too soon but I’m confused because they tell us to ask for help and not to remain silent, yet coming forward so far for me has been deplorable. I’m afraid as my situation is about to go public that they will see how difficult it is and be a reason to not seek help.
I’m not blaming whoever is reading the entire system or some of the Orgs out there. Some do try but many are failing. I just want to be understood so they can be understood. So they stop leaving us after serving you. The gofundme page is still up and active and if you find it in you to donate I would be forever grateful.
Det. Joe Locus-Ret