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The Inside Story: Mental health decision on hold day after latest police suicide

Last Updated Jul 3, 2015 at 11:21 am EDT

Toronto Police Services Board chair Alok Mukherjee speaks at a meeting in Toronto on Oct. 9, 2014. CITYNEWS

The day after another police suicide — a constable in Newmarket — the Toronto Police Services Board said it needs more time before adopting a set of mental health standards.

At a meeting at police headquarters on Thursday, the civilian body deferred adopting the National Standard of Canada for Psychological Health and Safety in the Workplace as chair Alok Mukherjee had recommended.

“They should be ashamed of themselves really,” said Lori Rogers, daughter of Sgt. Richard “Bucky” Rogers, who died by suicide in July.

“It’s avoidable … I can’t believe another family has to go through this.”

Since last spring, 15 police officers have died by suicide in Canada, including the York Region constable on Wednesday, whom CityNews will not identify out of respect for his family.

Sgt. Rogers and Const. Clint Cibulis were on Toronto’s force and both died by hanging. A CityNews investigation found that the families of both officers held the Toronto Police Service responsible for their deaths.

In particular, Rogers’s widow Heidi said instead of getting help for his mental health issues, the 24-year veteran was bullied by his superiors.

“It’s heartbreaking—it’s absolutely heartbreaking,” she said.

“There’s a lot of lip service, but no action being taken. Nobody’s stepping forward and doing anything … They’re just not willing to commit to doing something.”

The board said on Thursday a member of the Rogers family could sit on a committee to oversee the national standard’s implementation if and when it’s adopted.

The below pie chart and table data with the exception of March figures are courtesy of Tema Conter Memorial Trust.

Suicides by province from March-October 2014:

Mobile users, click here to view the chart.

Suicides by first responders since March:

Mobile users, click here to view the table.