From today’s Herald-Dispatch:
Note: I posted previously about possible mandatory mental health screenings for WV State Troopers here. – John H. Bryan, West Virginia criminal defense attorney.
Apparent trooper suicide comes amid mental health policy changes
Feb 13, 2008 @ 01:43 PM
CHARLESTON, W.Va. (AP) — A 10-year West Virginia State Police veteran died of an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound just hours after he was relieved of his duties.
The body of Cpl. V.J. Gall, who had been stationed at the Romney detachment in Hampshire County, was found at about 9:30 p.m. Tuesday, Department of Military Affairs and Public Safety spokesman Joe Thornton told The Associated Press on Wednesday.
The shot was not fired from Gall’s service revolver, which had been taken from him along with his badge a few hours earlier, said Thornton.
Thornton declined to say why Gall had been placed on administrative leave.
Gall, 46, was unmarried and had no children.
Gall’s death, which Thornton said will be investigated internally, is the second apparent West Virginia Trooper suicide in less than a year. Cpl. Marlo Gonzales shot himself July 18 outside his Putnam County home.
Gonzales’ death prompted Gov. Joe Manchin to ask for a review of suicides among law enforcement. Last month, the panel studying the issue recommended that troopers undergo yearly behavioral health screenings.
The panel also suggested that the agency do more to advertise available mental-health services and to help troopers and their families feel more comfortable about seeking treatment. Another recommendation was to train supervisors to identify people who may need help.
Thornton said the recommendations are still in the process of being implemented.
“The focus and idea is to implement all of them,” he said. “However, there are some that are going to be a little more time-intensive in terms of getting them up and running.”