ATLANTIC CITY, NJ – On August 22, 2020, Atlantic City police officer Richard Link, 29, of Brigantine, was found dead in his car in Galloway, NJ. An autopsy conducted by the Southern Regional Medical Examiner Office determined Link’s manner of death to be suicide caused by a gunshot wound.
According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, suicide rates have increased over the last 20 years in nearly every state in the country. Blue H.E.L.P., an organization that compiles a list of law enforcement officers lost to suicide, reported a significant increase in suicides by officers from 2018 to 2019. Accordingly, more is being done in New Jersey to connect those officers or their families that need assistance with the appropriate resources.
In 2019, the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office issued a new directive promoting law enforcement resiliency. The program is aimed at reducing the emotional and mental toll that can build over time leading to unwanted stress or health issues. These issues could potentially lead someone to thoughts of suicide. The directive required the appointment of at least one Resiliency Program Officer. The Atlantic City Police Department appointed three officers to fill this role.
The Resiliency Program goes along with established organizations such as Cop2Cop. Cop2Cop is a confidential helpline that helps first responders and their families deal with stress or behavioral issues.
For anyone that needs assistance, or knows someone that needs assistance, please call Cop2Cop at 866-COP-2COP (866-267-2267) or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text TALK to 741741.
A memorial service celebrating Link’s life will be held at the Fusion Church, 6300 E. Black Horse Pike, Egg Harbor Township, on Saturday, August, 29, 2020, from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM.