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Aug 11

We understand.


From → Pierre Lemaitre, RCMP

  1. Denis Duford permalink

    You will be missed my friend, we will not forget you and will strive forward for positive change in your memory.

  2. Stewart permalink

    We have all known that Pierre’s departure from this world was a suicide, confirmed by senior managements failure to acknowledge it, save for a weak word from Sgt. Vermuelen. The silence is both deafening and a sign of cowardice.

    As chair of the Lower Mainland Member’s Support Group, it causes me a pain that strikes deep to my core. I wish with all my heart that we had a chance to bring Pierre into our group where he would have found support, assistance and unconditional, non judgemental support. This tragedy is just a further statement on the failure of the Force to address the realities of Depression and PTSD and the toll it takes, both on members and their families.

    I reach out to all members who may be in a similar situation and feel isolated, bullied and alone. You are not alone, if you need a shoulder to lean on and a willing ear to listen and assist you with your plight, please, please reach out to our support group, we will provide you with whatever assistance we can provide in an environment where you will not feel alone and isolated.

    RIP Pierre, our thoughts and prayers go out to you and the Lemaitre family.

    Stewart Robertson
    RCMP Lower Mainland Member’s Support Group
    (604) 376-4575

  3. E Famia permalink

    Psychologist blasts RCMP’s handling of officers’ mental health issues

    Canada’s largest police service “betrays” its officers by failing to develop a national mental health strategy, says a Mountie turned psychologist.

    “There’s known risks to police work. We know that it puts people’s physical and mental health at risk, so I think organizations have an obligation to care for their employees,” said Dr. Jeff Morley, a retired Royal Canadian Mounted Police Staff Sgt. who now counsels emergency service workers, military personnel, and corrections officers in B.C.

    Morley is calling out the agency following the death of RCMP Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre, who hung himself July 29. Lemaitre — who was the initial spokesman for the Mounties following the stun-gun death of Polish tourist Robert Dziekanski at the Vancouver airport in 2007 — was wrongly accused of misleading the public in the case.

    While Morley is unfamiliar with the details of Lemaitre’s case, little is known about the mental health of police officers who often suffer in silence.

    The rates of psychological distress among Canadian cops are anyone’s guess, as no one is formally monitoring them.

    “Why aren’t we sort of keeping track of these things and paying attention to this so that we can learn?” asked Morley. “What are our problems? What are our rates?”

    Cops are exposed to “unimaginable atrocities” each day, said Morley, and post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious concern that’s been “ignored or inadequately addressed” for a long time, adding depression, addictions, and other issues go hand in hand with police work.

    The Mounties are “committed to protecting the health, safety and well-being of all its employees,” said RCMP spokesman Sgt. Greg Cox, adding they “strive to create and promote a safe work environment and healthy workforce …”

    RCMP officers have “direct access to the Canadian medical and psychological practitioner of their choice, inclusive of general physicians, psychiatrists, and community-based psychologists,” and are granted six hours of individual or group counseling with an approved psychologist without a referral or authorization.

    The problem with that model, Morley said, is psychologists have to write a report to the RCMP stating why that person is being treated when they submit an invoice.

    “If I’m working through something … do I want my employer to know what it is? I may or may not,” he said.

    While counseling is confidential for city cops in Ontario, “it’s not for the RCMP in Ontario, so I think there’s issues around that,” said Morley.

    “I think issues around stigma are still very present in policing.”

    For more information, visit


    All police services need to have programs for:

    Stigma reduction
    Early screening & detection
    Robust peer support programs
    Good professional support programs
    (Source: Dr. Jeff Morley)

  4. E Famia permalink

    Police suicides often linked to not making transition from work to home life, says expert

    A distressed police officer phoned Bob Douglas sobbing and screaming.

    “‘My children hate me. I can’t go on like this,'” recalled Douglas, a retired American police officer and leading expert on cop suicide.

    After asking the officer why, “I said ‘Personally, I would hate you too. Left their mother for another woman? Gimme a break here.’ Now that’s the police in me, that’s not Dr. Phil,” said Douglas.

    He asked the caller who told him the kids despise him.

    Their mother.

    “I said ‘have you spoke to your children?’ And he told me no. ‘Well, don’t you think you should?,'” said Douglas.

    The same officer phoned two days later reporting his kids adore him after all.

    Men, he said, have a tendency to avoid addressing issues until the burden becomes unbearable.

    “They seem like they’d almost go to the brink of killing themselves before they would make a decision that seems to make a lot of sense,” he said.

    Sadly, there was no such intervention for RCMP Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre on July 29.

    Lemaitre’s death was ruled a suicide by the BC Coroners Service on Aug. 15.

    Lemaitre was the initial spokesman for the Mounties following the death of Polish traveller Robert Dziekanski, Tasered at the Vancouver airport in 2007, and accused of misleading the public about the incident.

    He was exonerated by retired appeal court justice Thomas Braidwood, who oversaw the public inquiry.

    Lemaitre was found hanging at his Abbotsford home.

    The RCMP declined to comment on his death.

    News of another cop “checking out” doesn’t alarm Douglas.

    Relationship issues or family breakdowns are the primary cause of officer suicide, he said.

    “When you take away the family, you take away the things most important to them,” said Douglas.

    “Unfortunately, most of them will kill themselves at home.”

    The link to Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) in roughly one-third of U.S. cops is undeniable, said Douglas, who founded the National Police Suicide Foundation in 1997.

    “They don’t know how to make the transition from the street to the home,” he said.

    “In other words, they take that hyper-vigilant state that they’re in … and they come home and they try to play by the same rules,” he said.

    Douglas mostly hears from men who call from a blocked number and never give their name.

    He doesn’t ask.

    For more information, visit or phone 866-276-4615.

    Twitter: @ottawasunkroche

  5. E Famia permalink

    (Published in 24 Hours Aug 20, 2013)

    No pat explanation for cop’s suicide

    By Leo Knight

    A little more than a week ago, friends and family of former RCMP media spokesman Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre said farewell after he tragically committed suicide at the age of 55. It was shocking to people because he was, for many years, one of the faces of the RCMP as a senior media liaison officer.
    What was more shocking to me was that the story got reported at all in the mainstream media, and how it was reported, with most referring to his speaking to the media the night of the death of Polish tourist Robert Dziekanski at YVR.
    You see, despite the frequency of police suicides, the media rarely ever report on them. They may infrequently discuss the phenomena, but never specific cases, any more than they report on someone jumping off the Burrard Street Bridge.
    It’s not good form.
    But not in the case of Lemaitre. In this case, the media fell all over themselves not only to report it, but to nebulously tie his suicide to the comments he made the night Dziekanski died. It was as though his guilt about somehow making “misleading” comments on a fluid situation was some overarching reason and he suddenly couldn’t live with himself.
    Let me set the record straight. Lemaitre was called to YVR by IHIT Cpl. Dale Carr because he rightly recognized the case would have national implications and Lemaitre was bilingual.
    Lemaitre was briefed by investigators upon his arrival based on the information that they knew at the time and he gave that information to the assembled media. He did nothing wrong. That some of the information would later turn out to be incorrect as the investigation progressed was not terribly surprising. That is not unusual.
    That senior management in the RCMP made the decision that the misinformation would not be corrected had nothing to do with him. That decision, as determined in the Braidwood inquiry, lays solely at the feet of Wayne Rideout, a superintendent at the time.
    Was there an element of guilt that hounded Lemaitre inasmuch as he was unfairly pilloried in the media? Possibly. But I don’t know that.
    I do know he left a suicide note to explain his reasons. And I do know that I have lost too many police friends to suicide. It is a hazard of the job.
    As a cop, there are some things you just cannot un-see. You cannot just forget the horrors that accompany your job. You just try and deal with them in the best way you can.
    Some cops cannot live with their demons and commit suicide. It’s always tragic. But it shouldn’t be salacious news told by those who haven’t a clue.

  6. E Famia permalink

    (Prime Time Crime exclusive Aug. 21, 2013)

    And never mentioned again

    By Bob Cooper

    Novelist and ex-LAPD Detective Joseph Wambaugh used to call suicide ‘the policeman’s disease’ because, like divorce, our rate of suicide is at least twice the national average. As my friend and former colleague, Leo Knight, said so well in his column, No pat explanation for cop’s suicide, it’s a hazard of the job.
    Leo’s piece dealt with the recent suicide of RCMP Sgt. Pierre Lemaitre and he did a very good job of setting the record straight about Pierre’s role in the Dziekanski case. As he pointed out, incorrect information particularly in the initial hours of a major investigation is not unusual and I wish I had a nickel for every time it’s happened to me. Many cops feel that the news media unfairly hounded Pierre by repeatedly running clips of him giving out information that later turned out to be incorrect and making him the poster boy for police cover-ups. While the conduct of some news outlets can’t be discounted I’m not going to paint them all with the same broad brush because that would be unfair. In the wake of Dziekanski I had calls from a couple of senior reporters wanting to clearly disassociate themselves from the hysteria and vitriol of some of their colleagues and I agree with Leo when he says we’ll never know for certain because, in my experience I’ve found there is often more than one issue involved.
    The public is generally unaware of this because, as a rule, the press don’t cover suicides. With police suicides the exceptions are if the individual is a ‘public figure’ or the death occurred in a police facility and it’s this situation I wanted to deal with today. Traditionally police suicides went unacknowledged by the Department as well as by the press. They’ve always been regarded as bringing shame upon the Force, the coward’s way out. When it happened it was always a shock but seldom a total surprise. Word spread very quickly and it was discussed in hushed tones before Parade. It was as if no one wanted to speak too loudly as we were each reminded of our own mortality. The only official announcement was a brief entry in Part ll Orders which went along the lines of:
    “It is with regret that I announce the death on (insert date) of PC #123 DOE, John E. His name is therefore removed from the Rolls of the Force”.
    Period. Full stop. The guy was just struck off strength and never mentioned again.
    The first police suicide that the press covered in my time was that of PC #609 Tony Francis who shot himself in the basement of the old Oakridge sub-station. As you always hear the guys saying afterward, I’d seen him in the hallway at 312 Main an hour or two before he did it and everything seemed fine. It led all the newscasts and I wondered what the reaction of the membership was going to be. The next day I recognized the voice of a friend of Tony’s who called a morning radio talk show. Far from being critical of the coverage, he spoke about how sad and senseless his death was and that the only thing we could all hope for is that some good might come of it.
    In late 2006 Detective Sean Trowski killed himself on the 4th Floor of 312 Main St. and the press covered his death as well. I wasn’t close to Tony Francis but I was to Sean which changes your perspective a bit but as I watched the news and read the papers rather than a feeling of intrusion or resentment, I felt a sense of comfort that Sean’s presence on earth and on the job was at least being acknowledged.
    While writing this I was concerned that some might take offense at my using names. I decided to for a couple of reasons. First, the press covered all of these tragedies and the names were already out there. Second, and most importantly, these guys were our colleagues and in many cases, our friends. If they were killed on duty or died of natural causes would we ignore them, forget them, or speak of them in the third person? How they died is far less important than how they lived and remembering them is a validation of their lives.
    The depression that took them is an illness no different than cancer or heart disease. Being open and honest about it takes away the shame and if that makes it easier for those who need help to seek it then, as Tony’s friend hoped, something good has come of it.

    I’m alright Sarge, really

    • Anonymous permalink

      Well said. You’ve honoured their memory and their life by writing that.


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