Washington, D.C. Police Chief Opens Up After Two Officers Die By Suicide

On January 6, hundreds of rioters stormed the United States Capitol in an attempt to stop the election certification process. During this incident, four people died and many more were injured. Three weeks later, the effects of the riot still linger throughout the nation's capital.

While the riots were taking place, members of the Capitol Police and Metropolitan Police Department attempted to halt mobs that were attempting to take over. In an effort to control the situation, many were injured and many more were physically, mentally and emotionally shaken. Thus far, two officers that were injured that day have died by suicide. Most recently, Acting Metropolitan Police Department Chief Robert Contee announced that officer Jeremy Smith had passed away on the Washington Parkway while he was on the way to work.

"That was a very sad and tragic situation for us," Contee said.

"The officer is Officer Jeffrey Smith, he was a Second District Officer."

The trauma of the riots and losing colleagues does not die with Smith. In fact, it sits at the front of many officer's minds. Contee explained that many members of his department are dealing with loss, pain and grief as the country transitions into a new administration.

"While the police officers are out here, you know, they've been in really in a state of just dealing with constant trauma and tragedy since the beginning of the unrest in the early part of the summer," Contee remarked.

"The health and wellness, the mental wellness, of our officers is certainly important and certainly something I'm working on to make sure we can give them the support that they need to make it through the things they need to make it through in light of all the trauma that they've seen and experienced."

If you or someone you know need mental health help, text "STRENGTH" to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 to be connected to a certified crisis counselor.

Photo Credit: Getty Images

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