Alderman Looking For Ways To Help Prevent First Responder Suicides

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By WBBM Newsradio 780 AM & 105.9 FM

CHICAGO (WBBM NEWSRADIO) -- A key alderman wants to see the City of Chicago upgrade the way it helps police officers and other first responders facing stress and depression.Alderman Chris Taliaferro (29th Ward) chairs the City Council Public Safety committee, and he’s calling for a hearing on suicides among first responders. He wants to see a new mental health program created.

Taliaferro said, for example, the Los Angeles Police Department has a program that’s dramatically reduced the number of police suicides.

"They are completely staffed with police psychologists, whereas in Chicago we are staffed with clincians, and I think that makes a difference. But also they have their psychologists stationed and assigned within their district, building relationships with the officers," he said.Even as he calls for a hearing on suicides, Taliaferro also wants hearings aimed at getting more African-Americans and Latinos to apply for the police and fire departments and become police officers, firefighters and paramedics.