Chicago, IL – An off-duty Chicago police officer ended his own life at his home on New Year’s Day, police said.
The body of Chicago Police Officer Dane Anthony Smith, 36, was discovered at his Jefferson Park residence on Tuesday morning, WBBM reported.
He died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound, according to the news outlet.
Officer Smith, who was assigned to the Seventh District, had been with the police department for six years, WGN reported.
“No one knows with certainty why someone makes such a tragic decision,” Fraternal Order of Police [FOP] spokesperson Martin Preib told WBBM. “We are all left with a gaping hole in our lives.”
In a Facebook post on Tuesday evening, the FOP said it was “devastated to report” that another officer had committed suicide, and asked everyone to pray for Officer Smith’s family.
Officer Smith’s death was the fifth instance of a Chicago police officer committing suicide in the past year, WBBM reported.
In addition, four CPD officers died in the line of duty in 2018, WGN reported.
“We had a terrible 2018 in terms of officers getting hurt, killed and committing suicide,” Chicago Police Superintendent Eddie Johnson said during a press conference on Monday night. “Yet these officers come out every day and every night and do what we ask them to do.”
The department, which has a suicide rate that is 60 percent higher than the national average, currently has five clinical therapists and six chaplains on staff to assist over 13,000 employees, WGN reported.
According to a consent decree, the number of clinicians on staff is supposed to be increased to 10 by 2020, the Chicago Tribune reported.
“The FOP will re-double our efforts to work with the department and the city to make sure help is available for officers, and we ask each and every officer to keep an eye out for any officer who may be struggling with depression and guide them to get help,” the FOP told WBBM.