• Hartfor Courant Op-Ed by FOP Lodge #33 Secretary

    I am a police officer, and I have been angry. For months, I have heard the attacks on my fellow officers. I have seen the media and the Al Sharptons take common criminals and turn them into martyrs. I have seen people who have never worn a badge or put their lives on the line comment on police procedures.

    Your Mental Health & Wellness

    For 29 years I lived a fairy tale life. I was married to my best friend and husband, Paul. We began dating when we were 17 years old and were married at age 22. We had two wonderful sons, Jared and Benjamin and a precious dog named Frosty. We had no money problems, no family issues; we didn’t smoke, drink or gamble; we laughed and loved each other; we took family vacations and enjoyed each other’s company. Life was great. Then, on March 12, 2013, my fairy tale life ended. My husband of 34 years died by suicide. Suicide; it’s a terrible ugly and taboo word, especially when it happens to an LEO. How could this happen to someone like Paul? You may also be asking why I’m sharing this personal story with the world. My sons and I are not ashamed or embarrassed by Paul’s story. It’s a story that is real and can happen to the best LEO’s. Does the life I describe sound like someone who would take their own life? It’s time to break the silence. Paul was an East Hartford Connecticut Police Officer for almost 24 years. He was a well-respected and dedicated officer. He was a friend to all. During his years of service he received a meritorious service citation, lifesaving citation, and many commendations. He was also awarded “East Hartford Police Officer of the Year” in 2008. He spent most of his career was in patrol, working midnights. He was the kind of police officer that you would want to be stopped by. He made friends with the bad guys; they often asked for him. As with all LEO’s, he saw the worst things in the world such as car accidents, drunk drivers, dead people, dead babies, murder/suicides, and even watched a teenager who was stabbed die in his arms. He also lost a fellow officer, Brain Aselton, who died in the line of duty. When Paul started his career he had perfect health. Paul suffered from some depression and anxiety but nothing that could not be helped through his family practitioner with medication. He also suffered many health ailments incurred after many years on the job – hypertension, lower back problems, sleep apnea, etc. During the fall of 2012, the job that Paul had inside the department as desk/fleet/scheduling/court officer was becoming too stressful. Paul reached out to administration by writing a letter about the position and how difficult the job was becoming as responsibilities were continually added. He asked for a change in his work schedule and said “…I am willing to work with anyone to make this position more reasonable.” He asked “If this position can’t be modified per my request I would like to be permitted to return to patrol for next year’s bid which starts on February 2, 2013.” No one responded. Without his knowledge, while away on vacation in September, his position was posted and shortly after Paul returned to midnight shift on patrol. Still, no one from administration spoke to him about the position and the stress he was feeling. During the fall of 2012, I watched as my husband struggled with depression and anxiety. Paul needed help. Without knowing where to turn or what to do, he called Employee Assistance Program and made an appointment with a psychiatrist. He was given a meditation handbook and referred to a nurse practitioner who would handle his medication. This psychiatrist knew nothing about LEO’s. Paul never went back. Paul continued to struggle. He was sleeping more, losing weight, and beginning to feel like a failure. He felt ashamed; he was supposed to be this strong police officer and yet here he was struggling. He told me “I have everything a man dreams of, why do I feel this way?” In December 2012/January 2013 he began to see a new psychiatrist and was actively taking medication. He was diagnosed with Panic Disorder/PTSD related to the job. January 2013 – While working midnight shift, Paul responded to a chaotic scene, an apartment fire where babies were being thrown from the windows and people were jumping. He was taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. He told me “It was like 9/11; people and kids were everywhere screaming. I can’t do this job anymore.” February 2013 – Paul took one month off from work. There were some good days where he “looked” OK. On other days, he talked about work and how stressed he was and that he couldn’t do the job anymore and it was killing him inside. We talked about the possibility of retirement, disability, and quitting. Retirement was so close (July 2014) but yet so far away from Paul. He wouldn’t let me take him to the hospital because he was embarrassed that people may know him there and he feared he would lose his job. March 2013 – A permanent position was made inside the department for Paul and he returned to work. On March 12, 2013 Paul died by suicide at the East Hartford Police Department. Paul left two notes, one at the police department and one found at home. He said “….make my death an issue so you can get help for other people like me.” “I wish I could tell people that every time I think of work I get stressed out and anxious but if I told them I was suicidal I would be out of a job.” This is why my sons and I are on a mission. We need to help others and make changes in the way law enforcement looks at depression/anxiety/panic disorder/PTSD. The stress of the job is real and it exists. Suicide is not an act of cowardice but one of extreme stress and a measure of last resort to end the pain and suffering. One cannot “snap out of it” and the best way to stop suicide is to destroy the current culture where police officers cannot admit they are human. Just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it’s not there. There needs to be more training and peer support. Administration needs to understand the stressors that each officer faces. EAP didn’t work for Paul. I hope that you will help me fufill my husband’s last wish which was to make his death an issue and help others. Please take the time to view the personal video of Paul’s story. My husband, who was this kind, caring, and loving person truly bore the pain of those he protected and served. The video can be viewed on Youtube “Breaking the Silence of Police Suicide”. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PyVQMH-Pfws Please, also, take a few minutes to view the movie trailer on Code 9 Officer Needs Assistance https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jO01Qeg15KU It is a film that is being produced to help law enforcement officers survive the rigors of their stressful careers. It explores the darker side of law enforcement. It is powerful and real. Let’s work together to break the silence. Trish Buchanan is the widow of East Hartford, Connecticut Police Officer Paul S. Buchanan Badge Number 208 who died by suicide on March 12, 2013. She seeks to bring light to the subject of police suicide by talking about it. Trisha is an executive assistant in a Hartford Connecticut suburb and the proud mother of two sons. Her current passion is working to establish a 5-K First Responder run in Officer Buchanan’s memory. Trish’s strong faith has sustained her through this terrible time in her life. You may reach her at trishbuchanan208@yahoo.com If you, a loved one, a subordinate, or a colleague is experiencing problems like Officer Buchanan, help is available 24 hours per day at Safe Call Now 206 459 3020. Safe Call Now is not EAP. By Washington State law, information shared with Safe Call Now cannot be obtained by law enforcement agencies no matter where you call from. - See more at: http://www.lawenforcementtoday.com/2014/03/27/preventing-police-suicide-a-police-wife-breaks-the-silence/#sthash.jPsaMitU.ElhQsZp8.dpuf

    Congratulations!

    Congratulations to K-9 Officer Aimee Krzykowski of the Berlin Police Department who was recently recognized as the Highest Individual Fundraiser by the American Cancer Society for their "Bark For Life" event!! Aimee, a Breast Cancer Survivor and a Member of the North Central Connecticut Fraternal Order of Police Lodge #33, raised a total of $7,900.

    Wall Street Journal OpEd: The justice nominee and the cop killer

    Wall Street Journal OpEd: The justice nominee and the cop killer 02/26/2014 In the coming weeks, the Senate will consider the nomination of Debo Adegbile to be assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's civil-rights division. There are those who object to the nominee on various grounds, and others who defend him.

    Legislative News

    Grand Lodge Fraternal Order of Police President Chuck Canterbury writes letter to Congressman Michael Thompson Chairman of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force, outlining the FOP's recommendations of critical elements foraddressing gun violence.
    Download: 2013_0213.pdf


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  • Wall Street Journal OpEd: The justice nominee and the cop killer
    Posted On: Feb 28, 2014
    Wall Street Journal OpEd: The justice nominee and the cop killer 02/26/2014
    In the coming weeks, the Senate will consider the nomination of Debo Adegbile to be assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's civil-rights division. There are those who object to the nominee on various grounds, and others who defend him. We raise concerns here about only one issue: Mr. Adegbile's support for convicted Philadelphia cop-killer Mumia Abu-Jamal.

    Let there be no mistake. Our concern is not based on the fact that Mr. Adegbile acted as an attorney for a criminal defendant. The right to counsel is a fundamental part of America's criminal justice system, and no lawyer should be faulted for the crimes of his clients.

    But it is one thing to provide legal representation and quite another to seize on a case and turn it into a political platform from which to launch an extreme attack on the justice system. When a lawyer chooses that course, it is appropriate to ask whether he should be singled out for a high-level national position in, of all things, law enforcement.

    To understand Mr. Adegbile's involvement, you must first consider the nature of the case. In December 1981, Abu-Jamal shot and killed Philadelphia police officer Daniel Faulkner. Immediately following the incident, Abu-Jamal confessed and stated before three witnesses that he hoped the officer died.

    The murder was not a random street crime. Abu-Jamal was an ardent supporter of the "MOVE" organization­--a racist, anarchist group founded in Philadelphia in 1972. The group's radical positions included encouraging violence against police.

    By murdering a police officer, Abu-Jamal became a MOVE hero in the 1980s. He relished the role, and he made every effort to turn his trial into political theater and incite racial conflict. Repeatedly, he and his supporters interrupted proceedings, insulted the judge, and abused the officer's widow.

    Ultimately, overwhelming evidence led to Abu-Jamal's conviction and subsequent death sentence in 1982. Three decades of appeals followed, in which Abu-Jamal's appellate lawyers echoed their client's antics in legal maneuvers that made a mockery of the justice system. These appeals primarily functioned as a stage for Abu-Jamal's hateful ideologies, painting him as the unjustly accused victim of a racist conspiracy.

    Given this context­ and the fact that Abu-Jamal was already well represented and had funds at his disposal ­it is difficult to understand why, as acting president and director of litigation at the NAACP's Legal Defense Fund, Mr. Adegbile chose in 2009 to enter the circus created by Abu-Jamal and inject his organization into the case. Under Mr. Adegbile's leadership and through rallies, protests and a media campaign, the Legal Defense Fund actively fanned the racial firestorm. In a news release issued when it took over as Abu-Jamal's counsel, the Legal Defense Fund proclaimed that Abu-Jamal was "a symbol of the racial injustices of the death penalty."

    At a 2011 rally for Abu-Jamal, Mr. Adegbile's co-counsel on the case stated that "there is no question in the mind of anyone at the Legal Defense Fund" that [Abu-Jamal's conviction] "has everything to do with race and that is why the Legal Defense Fund is in the case."

    In 2012, even after Abu-Jamal's appeals had been exhausted, and after the Philadelphia district attorney's office had put the controversial case to rest by not seeking a new death sentence (which a court had voided in 2008 on the ground of faulty jury instructions), Abu-Jamal's website reported that the Legal Defense Fund would remain active in the cause by investigating new ways to challenge his conviction.

    Nevertheless, at Mr. Adegbile's confirmation hearing last month before the Senate Judiciary Committee, when he was questioned in detail about his own opinions of the incendiary allegations of a racist police conspiracy made by the Legal Defense Fund, Mr. Adegbile avoided answering the inquiries. Instead he repeatedly deflected questions, stating that he was not the lead lawyer on the case­as if, while acting as litigation director and later president of the Legal Defense Fund, he had failed to notice what was said by its lawyers about the group's most famous client.

    The Justice Department touts its civil-rights division as the "conscience of the federal government." In light of that role, it is disturbing that Debo Adegbile­a man with impressive credentials but an unconscionable record in the Abu-Jamal case­is poised to become the next assistant attorney general to lead this division. On Feb. 6, the judiciary committee voted 10-8 along party lines to back his nomination.

    Only three years ago, Mr. Adegbile was nominated to serve as a judge on the U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. Months later that nomination was abruptly withdrawn by the administration. That would be the best course here. Mr. Adegbile is not suited to serve in this sensitive position.

    You can also view this article here.

  • Connecticut State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police

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