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Police Suicides Remind Us That Our Folks in Blue Get the Blues, Too — To a Deadly Degree

Clarence Page, Tribune Content Agency on

I called her back after Furczon’s death to see how well the officers she sees have been coping with the crises of the past year. As I expected, for many, life has gotten worse. Among the biggest issues: 12-hour work days and canceled days off, among other interruptions to their home lives and, of course, their sleep.

And, as much as reform advocates scored a victory with the 764-page Illinois criminal justice reform bill that went into effect July 1, police feel even more pressures at a time when many feel their world already is turning against them.

Among other changes, the massive bill will end cash bail beginning in 2023, require police officers statewide to wear body cameras by 2025 and create a stronger statewide system for tracking police misconduct and decertifying officers who commit wrongdoing.

I have mixed feelings about officers’ complaints, since I support most of the bill’s reforms — in principle, anyway.

Cash bail is intended to ensure defendants show up in court and that dangerous people stay off the streets. But I’ve seen too many cases of dangerous defendants put back on the streets, as Chicago police Superintendent David Brown and others have complained.

And while police appreciate the evidence body cameras can provide of what the offenders are doing wrong, Steiner said, “They now feel that cameras are there to show what the officers are doing wrong.”

I hear their pain. Laws are made to be improved, and undoubtedly there’s plenty of room for improvement in this magnum opus of a bill.

 

For now, as we call on our police to help us, we should remember that they sometimes need our help, too.

If you or someone you know is thinking about suicide or needs emotional support, please call the 24/7 National Suicide Prevention Hotline: (800) 273-8255.

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(E-mail Clarence Page at cpage@chicagotribune.com.)

©2021 Clarence Page. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

(c) 2021 CLARENCE PAGE DISTRIBUTED BY TRIBUNE MEDIA SERVICES, INC.
 

 

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