When I read that the Kansas City Kansas police department blamed my marriage for my late husband’s suicide (who also worked for KCK pd) in the official report AND autopsy report I was devastated. I was ashamed. I was tormented. I didn’t think I could have possibly blamed myself even more for his death…but after reading that..I did. There were people in the department who skipped over me at his funeral and glared at me….glared at me at my own husband’s funeral. When I reached out to Chief Ziegler twice and he ignored me twice I felt sick. If Brett died in the line of duty would this kind of treatment be happening? To be judged, blamed, and shunned is so damaging to a loss survivor. I did the best I could with the knowledge I knew. Brett blamed the police department in his suicide letter, the police department blamed me, and I do not blame anyone. I know that he was very mentally sick with depression.
My support group SASS Support Group gave me a voice and showed me that it wasn’t my fault. And today….3 years later…I have found a new hope with my situation with the police department. Janice Busteed McCarthystarted COPSS after her husband, Captain Paul McCarthy, died by suicide in 2006 and went through similar circumstances with her husband’s police department. I am so glad that I found her. So glad. She is from Massachusetts and speaks nationally and internationally to police departments. I knew I wasn’t the only one out there and I am so happy that I got to speak with her today because she has validated my feelings and recognized what had happened and still happens is not ok. I’m going to keep doing what I’m doing because I know it’s the right thing to do. Tonight I feel like my support group has expanded all the way to New England.