After two Chicago police officers died by suicide in a two-week period, the brother of one of the officers is speaking through his grief in hope of helping others.
Patricia Swank, who served as a Chicago police officer for more than six years, died July 2. A second officer, Durand Lee, 42, died Friday. A third officer, a sergeant, was hospitalized after a suicide attempted and remains in grave condition, Chicago police said in a statement Saturday.
Swank, who went by “Patsy,” spent her days working in the city’s Englewood community.
Her brother said Patsy loved being a police officer and dedicated her life to serving other people.
“I wish she would have spoke up but that’s just the kind of person she was. Didn’t want to bother anyone else, burden anyone else,” her brother, Ryan Clancy said. “She always cared about what was going on in your life and what was going on with you. That just showed the heart she had.”
Following his sister’s death, Clancy is pleading for more mental health assistance for police.
“I’m not denying that there are resources. But when you give someone resources, how can they use those resources? With 12 hour days, no days off, there’s no time,” he said. “There’s been now three officers in the last two weeks. I don’t see officials doing anything about it.”
Patsy’s death leaves a hole in the hearts of her siblings, mother and 5-year-old son, as well as countless other family members, friends and cherished co-workers.
Patsy’s family hopes sharing her story will save lives.
“For anyone listening to this, check up on your loved ones. Because If I could have one day back with my sister, I’d trade it for anything,” Clancy said.
In a tweet Sunday, the Chicago Police Department said, “We are in the midst of the most difficult and challenging time to be a Police Officer in this country. Officer well-being and overall mental health is our top priority.”
“Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Professional Counseling Division provides free and confidential programs to all active and retired department members and their families,” CPD added. “We stand with our Officers.”
Anyone experiencing a mental health crisis or emotional distress can reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline by texting or calling 9-8-8.