“You’ve got basically one full day left to get down here and claim one million dollars.”
CHICAGO (CBS) — As the Chicago Police Department mourns another officer who took his life, a reitred CPD officer with more than 20 years on the force is speaking candidly about mental health and the high suicide rate within the department.
Retired Officer Ron Rufo fought back tears at times while talking about the problems officers face and the trouble some of them have seeking counseling.
He thinks the department needs to find a way to make them all understand it’s OK to ask for help.
“I get emotional with this,” he said.
It’s hard for retired Rufo to talk about some of the officers he counseled as a CPD peer support team member for more than two decades. All of them made a call that likely saved their lives.
“Reaching out for help and somebody to help them with their issues they may have,” Rufo said.
But what weighs on Rufo the most is the officers who don’t reach out and end up taking their lives.
“They’ve lost all hope not seeing that light at the end of the tunnel,” he said. “We have over 300 peer support team members but rarely do we get called out as much as we should, that stigma of being a tough person, being strong, and never being the weak link. Would you want to work with a partner that seeking counseling?”
Rufo even wrote the book “Police Suicide: Is Police Culture Killing Our Officers?”
“I just felt like there was that elephant in the room, nobody wanted to talk about it,” he said.
Rufo says for some officers the long hours, pressures and demands of the job combined with what they see and do on a daily basis can be too much to process.
“You got a lot of cameras on you,” he said. “You’ve got a lot more people judging you with everything that you do. It’s difficult because a lot of officers keep their emotions to themselves. They don’t share.”
And Rufo says sometimes that can lead to relationship issues and other problems, which become overwhelming. Add to that easy access to a firearm, and it can be a deadly combination.
“A lot of it may have to do with drinking as well,” he said. “Sometimes alcohol might be involved, which is a depressant, and then you have your weapon on your side. It’s so easy. It’s so quick it takes its toll right then and there.”
With five officer suicides in 2018 and another on new year’s day this year, Rufo hopes the department will step up to help those who might find themselves in similar situations.
“We need to have more classes about emotional wellness,” he said.
Until that happens, Rufo has a simple, but powerful message for all officers: “It’s OK to get help. It really is.”
Rufo also wants officers to remember they can seek that help anonymously. Currently CPD has five counselors, but a spokesperson says they plan to add five more soon. That’s in addition to members of the clergy that officers can also reach out to.
Elias Pettersson scored his third goal of the night in overtime to lead the Vancouver Canucks past the Ottawa Senators 4-3 on Wednesday night.
EL DORADO COUNTY (CBS13) — The El Dorado County Sheriff’s Department is searching for a bank robbery suspect that stole from a US Bank Wednesday afternoon.
Deputies said the male suspect entered the US Bank at 1020 White Rock Road in El Dorado Hills just before 2 p.m. Wednesday. The suspect reportedly demanded money and then left in an unknown direction.
Officials said the suspect is a white male adult, late 20’s, about 5’9″ tall with a thin build.
No threats were made to the employees during the robbery and deputies said the suspect did not use or show a firearm.
The sheriff’s department also provided a picture of a white sedan from a similar bank robbery a few months ago in Yuba City. Deputies have not linked the vehicle to the robbery Wednesday but said it may assist the public in identifying this suspect.
If you have any information on this person’s identification or which could lead to their identification or this robbery, please contact Deputy Macres at (530) 957-5227 or leave us a private message. X1379
Recent thefts in the town of Fort Macleod have RCMP sending out a warning to the public.
ROCKY MOUNTAIN NATIONAL PARK, Colo. (CBS4) – If you want to visit Rocky Mountain National Park during the government shutdown, limited access is available if you’re willing to put up with a few inconveniences.
Limited gates are open. Obviously missing are the friendly rangers who usually collect the entrance fees. You can go as far as the road will take you, but now that’s very far.
Once you reach the cones you’re on your own. Park visitors are permitted to hike as far as they want. Without the normal crowds the park seems like a winter wonderland.
On the other hand if nature calls in a different way, only some restrooms are open. Those in charge of cleaning them are not working. CBS4 could tell by the toilet paper on the floors. The reports of human feces at other national parks did not appear to be the case here though.
The Leubers family came to the park from Nebraska. They planned their trip and made their reservations around Thanksgiving. They were not pleased to find the park primarily closed.
“It’s sad. It’s sad to see the government in dysfunction, that’s the sad part to me, ” said Mike Leubers.
Visitor centers are shut. Garbage cans are now sealed with tarps placed over them and signs that read, “Due to the government shut down, sanitation services are suspended.”
Not all employees have been told to stay home. One ranger was busy telling people to move their cars. When CBS4’s Rick Sallinger asked her why she was working she replied, “I’m an essential employee.”
The government closure over a political battle regarding a wall to line the Mexican border with the U.S. doesn’t ban having fun at this national park gem. Children were sledding down hills and cross country skiers seemed to have the park all to themselves.
One park visitor Erin Jensen of Boulder sees the shutdown as having two sides.
“I feel bad for the government employees who don’t have a job right now, and I feel bad for my friends who are visiting from California, and I can’t take them up into the park,” she said.
For more information on the park during the shutdown people might turn to the park’s website, but those who update it aren’t working either.