Upper Arlington police officer dies unexpectedly

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UPPER ARLINGTON, Ohio — An Upper Arlington police officer died unexpectedly on Friday night, according to police.

The City of Upper Arlington Police Division released a statement on Saturday, saying the officer died at his home.

"Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this difficult time," the department said.

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Columbus police said preliminary investigation has led to this incident being investigated as a suicide, but are waiting on the coroner's report to make an official ruling.

The officer was a 10-year veteran of the department.

"We would like to thank members of the Columbus, Hilliard, and Dublin Police divisions who have stepped in to assist with supporting our officers and serving the Upper Arlington community," the department said. "We also thank the Upper Arlington community for their understanding and support in the days ahead."

Michael Weinman, Director of Government Affairs for the Fraternal Order of Police says officers handle life or death situations daily and the stress of what they see and hear is often traumatic. The former officer says there is still a stigma associated with officers admitting to battling mental health issues as well as seeking help.

“By nature, we have to be the strong ones on the scene, we have to be always strong,” Weinman says.

“In a normal lifetime you may see one two traumatic events. . . we’re talking about officers who see that sort of thing all the time.”

Weinman says more needs to be done to provide resources for those who are battling what he considers ‘an injury they received on the job’. The former officer is one of many in support of House Bill 308, an Ohio bill that would allow first responders with PTS to qualify for workers' compensation.

“FOPs across the country have picked it up and right now 31 states already have this,” Weinman says.

There are resources available if you or a loved one are having thoughts about suicide. Those resources and ways to get help can be found here.