An NYPD officer took his own life while off duty in Queens on Monday. Second-grade Detective Paul Federico, 53, was found at his mother’s home on 79th Street in Middle Village around 12:25 p.m.
The 29-YEAR veteran NYPD detective was assigned to Commissioner Dermot Shea’s liaison unit but had recently been placed on restricted duty and stripped of his service weapon. The NYPD did not specify why.
Federico, 53, had sought counseling through the department for unspecified personal issues. He hung himself, according to press reports.
A father of two, Federico, was the first NYPD officer to take his life in 2020. Ten active-duty NYPD cops died by suicide in 2019, double the rate of recent years.
This mental health crisis compelled the department to develop a new suicide-prevention program called “Finest Care” that offers free treatment from psychiatrists and psychologists at New York-Presbyterian Hospital.
The department has also encouraged officers to contact Blue H.E.L.P., a non-profit organization that aims to remove the mental health stigma through education, assistance, and raising awareness about suicide and mental health issues in law enforcement. According to Blue H.E.L.P., 228 officers took their lives nationally in 2019. Twenty-six officers across the country have taken their own lives thus far in 2020, according to the group.
“It’s tragic that it happened. The department has so many preventive measures that you can take, but if you are hell-bent on killing yourself, it doesn’t matter if you have a gun or not,” said an NYPD detective familiar with the matter, who asked to remain anonymous. “It’s a sad day.”
Federico was a 9/11 first responder who searched for human remains amid rubble brought to the Fresh Kills on Staten Island from Ground Zero.
Commissioner Shea urged officers seeking assistance help to seek help via BLUE HELP.
“We tragically lost another member of the NYPD family. PLEASE—If you or ANYONE you know is going through something, help is available. Text BLUE to 741741, you’ll be connected to someone. It’s FREE & CONFIDENTIAL—24/7.”