Trenton, New Jersey – A Mercer County Sherriff’s Officer Pablo Santiago took his own life while at work on Wednesday.
By looking at his photo taken just weeks ago, you would never guess this was coming. His coworkers, as expected, are all reported to be extremely surpised and upset by this news. It just goes to show that you never know what someone is going through, no matter how happy they appear.
Suicide. It seems to be a problem that has reached epidemic levels in law enforcement these days. All too often news of officers taking their own lives comes across your news feed. It is starting to garner more attention. A recent news article from Austin, Texas discussed how a Police Chief has seen so many avoidable firings and dicipline as a result of alocohol abuse and other stress related factors that come with being in law enforcement. They are taking steps to battle the issue before it becomes a problem. Kudos to Austin Police Department.
The statistics aren’t easy to come by, as there isn’t an “official” database that police related suicides must be reported to and tracked. As of December 19th, there were 14 police suicides confirmed, it is likely there have been more. At the very least this tragedy makes 15 and that’s 15 too many.
A GoFundMe account was started on Thursday morning to help Santiago’s family.
“Anyone who met Pablo knew him to always have a contagious smile, a beautiful spirit, and a kind (and many times silly) word,” the GoFundMe campaign page said. “Not only was he a respected pillar of the Mercer County community, and the President of PBA Local 187, but also a sheriff’s officer dedicated to his job beyond words, and above all else and most importantly, a devoted friend, husband and father.”
The GoFundMe campaign continued, “With his sudden passing, Pablo leaves behind a loving wife and two beautiful daughters. Although nothing can replace his presence in this world, we are hoping to alleviate some of the financial burdens on his family following the tragedy.”
The fundraiser has reached $5,345 out of a goal of $20,000 in four hours at the time of this article.
The Officer Next Door extends its deepest condolences to the Santiago family and his brothers and sisters of the Mercer County Sheriff’s Department.