After two Chicago police officers died by suicide within two weeks, the brother of one of the officers is speaking out about his grief and hope to help others.
Patricia Swank, who served as a Chicago police officer for more than six years, died on July 2. The deputy, Durand Lee, 42, died on Friday. A third officer, a sergeant, was hospitalized after attempting to take his own life and remains in critical condition, Chicago police said Saturday.
Swank, who went by “Patsy,” spent her days working in downtown Englewood.
Her brother said Patsy loved being a police officer and volunteered to serve others.
“I wish he would have spoken up but that’s the type of person he was. He didn’t want to bother anybody, burden anybody,” said his brother Ryan Clancy. “He always cared about what was going on in your life and what was going on with you. That just shows the heart he had.”
After the death of his sister, Clancy seeks psychological help from the police.
“I don’t deny that there are resources. But when you give someone resources, how can they use the resources? It’s 12-hour days, no breaks, no time off,” he said. “Now there have been three police in the last two weeks. I don’t see the authorities doing anything.”
Patsy’s death leaves a hole in the hearts of her siblings, mother and 5-year-old son, as well as many other family members, friends and beloved co-workers.
Patsy’s family hopes to share her story to save lives.
“To anyone who’s hearing this, check your loved ones. Because if I had a date with my sister, I’d trade it for anything,” Clancy said.
In a tweet on Sunday, the Chicago Police Department said, “We are in the midst of one of the most difficult and challenging times to be a Police Officer in this country. Staying healthy and having a good mental health is very important.”
“Our Employee Assistance Program (EAP) and Professional Counseling Division provide free and confidential programs to all active and retired members and their families,” added CPD. “We will stand with our officers.”
Anyone experiencing mental illness or depression can reach the National Suicide Prevention Hotline by texting or calling 9-8-8.