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Tragedy for everyone

A  Seattle police officer took his own life a few hours after being arrested for stealing cocaine that he had failed to submit into evidence. He was then released, in compliance with procedure.

The Seattle Times reports: “ Nelson was arrested in the felony investigation and taken to headquarters, where he spoke with command staff for a few hours before he was booked into King County Jail at 4:16 a.m. At that time, he was ‘offered a number of referral options for counseling,’ the department said in a statement.”

Instead of taking a referral option for counseling, he was driven home by one of the command staff. Within a few hours, he took his own life. His body was found by a hiker.

While police are under intense scrutiny by the public, they often hold themselves and each other to an even higher standard; the tragedy is that Nelson was unable – for whatever reason – to get help when he needed it - and did not take it today when he was offered it.

Perhaps if we seek ways to support law enforcement in their personal struggles, their struggles would be resolved in healthy ways, not tragic endings.

(S-R archives photo)

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Writer Catherine Johnston of Olympia, Wash., addresses issues facing aging baby boomers and seniors as well as issues of serious illness, death and dying, grief and loss.

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