On September 1, the first day of National Suicide Awareness Month, Chicago’s John Dineen Lodge #7 of the Fraternal Order of Police unveiled a memorial to Chicago police officers who have been lost to suicide. Believed to be the first tribute of its kind by any law enforcement group in the nation, the monument stands in the courtyard in front of the lodge hall, next to the existing memorial wall listing the names of officers killed in the line of duty.
The suicide memorial was the brainchild of Lodge #7 President John Catanzara, inspired by seeing an acknowledgment of those who had died by suicide when he visited Arlington National Cemetery during National Police Week. With more than a dozen CPD officers having been lost to suicide during the past five years — a rate nearly 60% higher than other police departments across the country — the Lodge #7 Board of Directors agreed a memorial was called for to ensure those officers’ service and struggle would never be forgotten. In addition to the memorial stone engraved with stars recognizing every rank, Catanzara had the idea of adding a locker with a uniform, hat and shoes inside to show that the officers’ legacy remains present.
The dedication ceremony was attended by Chicago police officers and surviving family members, with dignitaries including Chicago Mayor Brandon Johnson, Illinois Attorney General Kwame Raoul and National FOP Vice President Joe Gamaldi offering heartfelt speeches about the importance of supporting mental health for law enforcement.
“I’ve always said he did die in the line of duty because he gave his life to the City,” Julia Troglia said of her husband, Chicago Police Officer Jeff Troglia, whom she lost to suicide in March 2021. “I think it’s great that they are finally doing this for these officers.”
Catanzara summed up the importance of the memorial in not only remembering those who have been lost, but also hopefully preventing future losses by raising awareness, erasing stigma and offering comfort: “We wanted to honor the family members that are left behind and any officers who are struggling, to show them that talking about it might just save one life.”