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Perez Issues Appeal To Coping Cops

December 5th, 2017 · 15 Comments · Law Enforcement, News and Events

Lattanzio

Thomas Lattanzio

Police Chief AJ Perez on Tuesday issued a second statement following the death of Police Officer Thomas Lattanzio that officials are treating as a suicide from a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head.

We are devastated by the loss of officer Tommy Lattanzio–we are grieving as a family with support from our friends and our community.

We can’t comment on details related to yesterday’s incident, that is under investigation.

Officer Lattanzio was on administrative status at the time of his death. As a general rule, officers surrender their badge, service weapon and ID when they are placed on administrative status.

Policing is a highly stressful job, and nationally it has been shown to have higher rates of PTSD and suicide. This is a challenging time and place to be a police officer.  At the end of the day our officers are tough, dedicated and well trained, but we are also human beings.

We are doing everything to be there for our Bridgeport Police family–We are providing Peer support teams from this department, neighboring departments and outside resources. Teams from the police departments of New Haven, Norwalk, Newtown, and Stamford came voluntarily to help our officers yesterday and remain available. We are very grateful for their support.

We also have a comprehensive employee assistance program that provides ongoing mental health check-ins and services for our department.

Our entire leadership team has been clear with all of our officers: talk to someone if you are having trouble coping with anything. DO NOT BOTTLE THIS UP. We are here for you.

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15 Comments so far ↓

  • Joel Gonzalez

    Thank you Chief A.J. Perez and all members of law enforcement including all civilians such as my self for all you have done and continue to do to make our city, state and country better and safer.

    Full disclosure: I am a City of Bridgeport employee for about 20 years. I’m a lifetime city resident age 53. I have a short criminal record going back about 30 years. I became active in local politics around 1990. In 1995 I was elected to the City Council representing the 131st. district, which at the time covered the locations of 3 Police Stations or substations. Joseph P. Ganim was the mayor and Sweeney was the Police Chief. Back then, the concept of second chances did not exist. I had and still have that criminal record and I could have had the record expunged (pardon) a long time ago. I met A.J. Perez long ago and I could say that he has treated me with kindness and respect despite my known past. I had to solely make my own road to demonstrate my commitment and skills to turn around district 131 and get all those who obviously had some problem with me having a leadership position.

    In 2008 I joined this webzine ONLY IN BRIDGEPORT when Lennie Grimaldi invited me. In 2007 when Bill Finch was poised to become mayor, I was working the night shift as a security guard at the Beardsley ZOO (about 9 years). Of my six years on the council (1995-2001) I served 5 years with Bill Finch and I knew the real Bill Finch better than anyone who was willing to tell about it and using my real name, I started to tell about it mainly here on OIB.

    In June 2008, after barely surviving my layoff per order of Bill Finch, I reported for duty as Janitor at the Bridgeport Police Department. One of the first Police Officers who caught my attention was Officer Thomas Lattanzio. Tommy had that nerdy look and a physical feature that I have–the shape of his head. I greet as many of the officers and civilians constantly, conversation and jokes is like automatic to me. One time I asked Tommy to tell me of any time a prisoner made remarks about the shape of his head as I’ve gotten plenty of that most of my life. Anyone should be able to come up with the kinds of remarks or insults we have gotten. I’ve gotten pretty much to know what Tommy was like in his head, heart, and courage. Long time readers of this blog have gotten first hand looks of the kinds of remarks, insults and acts taken against me for just being a very opinionated blogger/activist. I’m not one to bottle things up, we are all crazy in our own little way. Holding things up inside makes a human being worst mentally, physically, and spiritually. For almost nine years I was held in the Beardsley Zoo. I spent most of that time reading, thinking, analyzing everything, separating the fake Politicians from the real ones (there are few), etc, etc. The best decision Bill Finch made was to move me from the Zoo to the BPD. It freed the political animal that I am today and it offered me the opportunity to meet people Like Officer Thomas Lattanzio. 782 here’s to looking at you.

  • Robert Teixeira

    Joel you hit the nail on the head when you said, “In June 2008, after barely surviving my layoff per order of Bill Finch.” To say it was just the stress of his occupation would be misleading
    a (cover up). We wouldn’t be here. If he didn’t find himself with the real thought of losing his job or felt he had something to live for in this world. Even just the support he needed to walk himself off the ledge. How many in that so called “Blue Family line” helped push him off that ledge?

    Farmworkers, fishermen, lumberjacks, occupations has a higher rate of suicide, and death related to their occupation, and their job is to feed you and give you shelter material. It’s not because of the stress or the demands of what police see and deal with on a daily based.

    I will not get into the yin & yang of policing or the demands of being an officer. To me police are just gangsters in uniforms. The sad part is by the end of the week all the Facebook profiles and supported posts will be a distant memory for most of all of us. May the Lord grant him peace as quickly as possible? Merry Christmas people.

  • Jeff Kohut

    As has been often noted; police officers are repeatedly under war-type stresses in modern policing environmrnts, in an increasingly-violent, dysfunctional, extremely well-armed society. They repeatedly witness extreme violence, address extreme violence, even as they are exposed to the threat of extreme violence, all in the face of the threat of legal and career repercussions related to the performance of their required duties. This, of course, is bound to have negative psychological/behavioral consequences, such as PTSD, depression, substance abuse,
    et al., which are often co-morbid and cross-intensifying, which can lead to severe behavioral issues and even suicide…

    This society is not fair to its police officers/first responders, or military people… We call upon them to risk life and limb doing our “dirty work” or carrying out ill-conceived government policy without providing the proper modes of support to sustain their emotional/behavioral health.

    Truly, the development and implementation of standardized, consistent, effective measures to maintain the emotional/behavioral health of police officers/first responders needs to become a priority of this society. And there must be legal assurances of all modes of support for police officers/first responders that find themselves in difficulty attributable to the execution of their prescribed professional duties…

    When a police officer commits suicide attributable to stresses resulted from the execution of their professional duties, then it must be assumed that they have been failed by all levels of government, and indeed, by the whole of society. We all have to feel significant guilt and responsibility about Officer Lattanzi’s suicide. He is dead because of the implicit lack of appreciation by society for his professional efforts and sacrifices on our behalf. Perhaps, in a society willing to pay the price needed to engender order and civility, as well as nurture and reward its peace officers, Officer Lattanzi would still be alive…

  • Andrew C Fardy

    May this officer Thomas Lattanzio rest in peace. Today’s police officer is asked to take care of today’s social problems. Every time there is a crisis the hue and cry is lets get the police to handle it.
    We have had recent meetings of local ministers and minority representatives calling for crisis management and the defusing of potential situations. We are training the police but who is training these bums that are causing the crisis. Why dont the revs get into the neighborhoods and defuse these hostile hoods.
    What pisses me off is every time photos are taken of a police confrontation its always the cops fault,This incident showed 3 cops trying to put cuffs on a person who had been arrested. The nice individual spit in one of the officers face. The photo shows a female cop hitting the suspect, she should have used mace on this guy. In every and I mean every situation where someone is arrested and there is a fight its always the cops fault, I guess these idiots want the cop to say please put the hand cuffs on. People wake up and straighten out the bums that are ruining your neighborhood

  • Zena Lu

    This is so sad. Imagine what this man was thinking the moment he took his own life. I have had suicide close to me. Nothing is insurmountable. Just talk. You are human. We are all wierd. All of us.

  • Robert Teixeira

    Jeff I agree with your psychological aspect of what officers see and experience on a daily basis, and the effects it has on them. It’s the desensitization of them. It’s a double edged sword. If a cop is able, mentally to kill themselves or beat their spouses etc. how do you think they will treat a perp who is just an asshole with a mindset of I can get away with it because I’m a cop or have the power to get away it?

    Take the shooting with officer Bouley I don’t think he intended to murder someone when he started his shift or when he pulled over the car. It wasn’t premeditated in that manner, definitely undertrained, and shouldn’t not have a badge. What you have fore-mentioned about the extreme violence and the impact on their negative psychological/behavioral consequences is true, however not all cops are prone to use unnecessary force such as in the case of Arroyo, they left that kid to die in the street. (if what I read is correct in the cops seeking medical help for him) If that is true, that says something is very disturbing about the behavior, and the culture in the police force or at very least the desensitization empathy.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8r5KFAeujww

  • Stringfellow

    From what I read in the paper Officer Lattanzio was loner,estranged from his sister and his only companion was a cat. Loosing his home and the unknown discipline facing him ahead put Officer Lattanzio is a very dark place. He may have been an Officer like many other professionals that identity themselves with their job, not who they are. The day the story broke the report mentioned a car with city plates.

    Clearly Officer Lattanzio wanted the world to know his personal car was a police car. He must have got special permission to get these plates. Clearly that was a glimpse into his mind. I hope this is a wakeup call to this department and other professionals.

    Mr. Teixeira painted all cops as “Gangsters in uniform” That is unfair since you don’t know all of them and keep that in mind in case you have to call 911.

    If you get bad service at a restaurant are you no longer going to eat out?

    Officer Lattanzio could not stand the possibility of being fired and going back to a life before he was a cop, that was not an option. The life of a cop was all he wanted to be and that is how he left this world.

  • Robert Teixeira

    Not sure about your restaurant analogy but I’m sure it’s purpose is valid and your use of it has meaning to you.

    Didn’t Chief Perez refer the department is a “FAMILY” In fact all police department as a ” BLUE FAMILY” And didn’t the paper report one cop as saying “it’s one of ours”

    I guess the service I get will depend on the restaurant I go to.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1xLEBtyar6M

  • Robert Teixeira

    What have I ever done to get such bad service? Good luck people. Merry Christmas.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=i96VS_z8y7g

  • Stringfellow

    The analogy Mr. Teixeira was in reference to your comparison of all cops as gangsters in uniform.

    If you went to a restaurant and received bad service would you no longer eat at any restaurant for fear of receiving more bad service?

    There is good and bad in all professions.

  • Robert Teixeira

    How was the food?

    I didn’t compare anyone, you did. I said to me cops are just gangsters in a uniform. So was officer Lattanzio a good cop or a bad cop. Bob would say he had a unpleasant experience with Officer Lattanzio. To use your restaurant analogy. All cops, the good and the bad cops are waiters in uniforms that work in a gangster restaurant, and if you read my post you would have seen that. People see what they want to see.

  • Robert Teixeira

    PS. I didn’t paint anybody as anything. You can try to paint me as doing so. I’m not on the “white” side or the “black” side or whatever color you use to place me on a side. I’m one Christ’s side. So if you view me as on a side against you than you are on the Anti-Christ’s side, know your team. This is actual when Time will tell. Good luck people.

    http://www.cc.com/video-clips/kj6njv/the-daily-show-with-jon-stewart-the-war-on-christmas–friendly-fire-edition—bill-o-reilly-s-philosophy

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