End the silence

Dear Editor,
As a Kew Gardens Hills resident & former member of the 107th Police Precinct Community Council, I was shocked & saddened over the suicide of Commander Denis Mullaney on April 5.
At age 44, he left behind a wife, young son and a 20-year career of dedication to
public safety. We’ll never know what drove him to this desperate act, but Father Joseph Ponti told mourners at St. Mel’s Catholic Church in Flushing that “people are fragile, they break.”
What was Deputy Inspector Mullaney’s breaking point? The 107th Precinct, which he headed since September, has one of the city’s lowest crime rates, with auto theft as its top problem.
The 107th’s total crime rate dropped substantially under his command. But police in New York City and nationwide face pressure from rising violent crime and anti-cop
More than 30 cops across the U.S. killed themselves during the first three months of 2021.
Mullaney was going through a divorce from his wife, also a cop, which may have
been a catalyst.
But the NYPD’s blue wall of silence regarding mental illness might be another factor. Cops fear losing their badges if they seek therapy or psychiatric help.
As a Chicago wire service reporter in the early 1960s, I saw the pressures facing police. Even a mundane incident like a family quarrel could suddenly explode into violence.
But the pressures today are much greater. Cops deal with heavily armed criminals and felon-friendly lawmakers who want to empty prisons and slash police budgets.
Like all of us, cops are human and sometimes make tragic mistakes. They must be held accountable when that happens, but this doesn’t justify a blanket condemnation of the entire law enforcement profession.
Cops risk their lives daily to protect us and preserve the quality of life in our neighborhoods. They deserve our support.
Richard Reif
Kew Gardens Hills