Detective Mike Griffin has been in law enforcement for 13 years. 

“It’s tough,” Griffin said.  No amount of time blunts the sting of certain scenes. 

“Your heart sinks, because it’s just like ‘why? Why did you do this?'” Griffin said. Detective Griffin responded to the suicide of 17-year-old Angel Perez in December, 2015. 

“I knew Angel very well. I had seen him around the neighborhood all the time. He was one of those kids that always said hi and waved, he would stop and talk. He was a very friendly and outgoing young man,” Griffin said.  He said for officers, suicides pose extra challenges. 

“As officers with any case we go on we ask the who, what, why, when, where and how,” Griffin said.  “When you have a suicide you can never answer why,” Griffin said.  That makes an already difficult job even harder. 

“We as police officers we feel like we aren’t fulfilling our normal duties and responsibilities of fulfilling the basic questions these people have,” Griffin said.  He said they try to help families of suicide victims avoid the unanswerable questions. 

“Generally when people commit suicide they’re not in their rational thinking, their normal way of thinking. They think it makes sense for them to do it. Obviosuly on that date it made sense to Angel to commit suicide,” Griffin said. These disturbing calls can have an emotional impact on responding police officers. 

“Obviously if there is a large scale scene or a traumatic death of a young person or a child, our supervisors do a good job of checking in on us. We do a good job of checking in on eachother, making sure we’re okay,” Griffin said.  The city also provides resources like talk therapy. 

“You can go to a counselor and kind of debrief on what happened, they’ll talk you through it,” Griffin said. “I’ve been to it. It helps you through some of the stuff that you see. some of it does bother you. I mean, we’re humans. Just because we are police officers doesn’t mean we can shut it off.”