A Wellesley man known as a municipal leader in Stratford and Waterloo Region is calling on the OPP to take immediate action on officer suicides.
Rob Horne’s brother is one of 13 OPP officers who have died by suicide since 2012.
Det. Insp. Paul Horne was with the provincial police for more than two decades and had served in Bosnia with the Canadian army. He died last summer, one of three officers who died by suicide in a three-week period.
In an exclusive interview, Rob Horne says an officer knocked on his door last August and informed him that his brother had died.
“He was trying to find help, just as many officers were,” he says. “So that seemed to be in the background of his career and his life as a family person. It obviously had a very, very telling effect on him.”
Horne says his brother loved his job and colleagues but quietly suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder.
In January, Horne and his family met with OPP officials to submit a request for the OPP to take immediate action.
Reviews from the former commissioner and the province’s chief coroner are underway, but Horne says officers need help now—since their meeting, another officer has taken his own life.
“We do recognize that we’re not working from zero, that the OPP has put things in place,” he says. “We just think there is a better way of doing it.”
The OPP says that its review is being released soon and as such declined to comment on Horne’s specific suggestions.
“What we can tell you is that the review team is grateful for all of the feedback that has been provided to us throughout this review,” a statement reads in part.
Rob Jamieson, the head of the Ontario Provincial Police Association, says the union negotiated a deal this week that removes a cap on support.
The OPP’s Wellness Unit provides internal support to members through the Critical Incident Stress Response (CISR)/Peer Support (PS) Program.
Employee and Family Assistance (EFAP): 24/7 by phone 1-844-880-9142
ConnexOntario: 24/7, confidential and free access to addiction, mental health, and problem gambling services. Call 1-866-531-2600