Shooting at MDPD director Ramirez reflects higher suicide rate among law enforcement

The director of the Miami-Dade Police Department is in stable condition after suffering a self-inflicted gunshot wound to the head, authorities said.

Alfredo “Freddy” Ramirez, 52, reportedly shot himself Sunday on the side of Interstate 75 near Tampa after an argument with his wife.

Ramirez was hospitalized and underwent surgery, and Miami-Dade Police said Monday night that he was in a stable condition.

The shooting reflects the difficult work of law enforcement and the high suicide rate among professionals.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in 2021 that law enforcement officers are more likely to die by suicide than in the line of duty.

According to the CDC, the main cause is environmental stress at work.

The CDC reports that mental health issues are also common among first responders, including anxiety, depression, post-traumatic stress disorder, and more.

The U.S. House and Senate approved funding for the 2020 Lifeguard Coping Assistance Act, which helped the CDC collect first responder suicide data.

However, the CDC says helping is difficult because mental health professionals may not be familiar with the unique challenges of first responders.

Florida Department of Law Enforcement Commissioner Mark Glass, whose agency is jointly investigating the Florida Highway Patrol incident, spoke about Ramirez during a brief press conference on Monday.

“Law enforcement is a difficult and stressful career and occupation. Director Ramirez has dedicated nearly 30 years of his life to public service to keep the citizens of Miami-Dade safe,” Glass said. “Today is a tragic day in Florida and law enforcement stands with Director Ramirez and his family during this difficult time as we pray for his full recovery.”

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