The Chicago Police Department’s new deputy chief of criminal networks was found dead on Tuesday from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, the latest in a history of suicides at the department.
Dion Boyd, 57, was sworn into his new post on July 15 after 30-years on the force. Superintendent David Brown urged officers to keep an eye out for colleagues who could be in distress.
“Let’s always remember to take care of ourselves and each other,” Brown said at a press conference.
The national suicide rate among police officers is about 18 per 100,000 as of 2017, however the rate in Chicago is 60 percent higher.
“One of the shocking statistics for me was that cops kill themselves at a higher rate than bad guys kill the police. And when you put it in those numbers, you realize that there’s a real problem,” Phil Cline, executive director of the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, told WBBM radio. “And it’s not something the just sprung up in the last year or so. It’s been a problem for a while.”
Boyd’s body was found at the department’s Homan Square facility, a secretive site that houses the anti-gang and bomb and arson squads. Various abuses allegedly occurred at the site, including reports of excessive force used in interrogations uncovered by The Guardian in 2016.
Chicago police are currently attempting to clamp down on shootings that have plagued the city since Memorial Day weekend.
While shootings typically rise in the city throughout the summer months, this year has seen a particularly sharp uptick. Chicago has recorded about 2,000 shooting victims so far this year, compared to roughly 1,400 over the same period in 2019.
The seasonal rise seems to have been exacerbated by the impact of coronavirus lockdowns on inner city neighborhoods, as well as anti-police sentiment stemming from the George Floyd protests roiling the U.S.