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John Violanti Ph.D.

Dr. Violanti's Bio


Alcohol Abuse in Policing - Prevention Strategies
FBI Law Enforcement Bulleting article printed in January 1999

Homicide-Suicide in Police Families: Aggression full circle
International Journal of Emergency Mental Health - 2007

In Valor there is Hope: Reflections on the Wall

Shift-work and suicide ideation among police officers - abstract

Stress: A Police Health Problem

Suicide in Police Work: Exploring Potential Contributing Influences

The Mystery Within: Understanding Police Suicide



On The Edge'On the Edge: Recent Perspectives on Police Suicide' 2011
By John M. Violanti, Andrew F. O'Hara, and Teresa T. Tate
In this book, the authors extend their academic research and knowledge on the subject to a national level. Two of the authors, who have personally dealt with the aftermath of suicide, add a realistic description of what it is like to be "on the edge." Andy O'Hara, who survived his near suicide and describes the feelings and pain he felt during that crisis period, and Teresa Tate, whose husband died by suicide, will add immeasurably to the understanding of this problem. Chapter One discusses police suicide rates and the ongoing controversy that surrounds this area of research. In Chapter Two, the authors describe two in-depth analyses of national police suicide rates. Chapter Three is based on a conceptual model of the career span of a police officer and trauma within that span that may exacerbate conditions for suicide. Chapter Four presents a discussion of factors that may help to protect police officers from suicide. In Chapter Five, Andy O'Hara discusses his own journey to the edge and how such decisions may come about in police officers. In Chapter Six, Andy O'Hara presents a description of his newly developed program, "Badge of Life," which seeks to "depower" police trauma and, instead, "empower" the officer. In doing so, they will be prepared not only for stress but for trauma before it occurs and know what to do when it does. In Chapter Seven, the aftereffects of suicide are explored and how police support can help to ameliorate psychological distress and trauma associated with an officer's death. Teresa Tate, founder and leader of the survivor group S.O.L.E.S. (Survivors of Law Enforcement Suicide), presents actual cases of police survivors derived from her personal interviews with these survivors. In the final chapter, the authors conclude with a description and critical analysis of present programs for police suicide prevention. Law enforcement practitioners, researchers and therapists, as well as police organizational policymakers, will benefit from the discussions presented in this book.


Copicide'COPICIDE' 2008 John Violanti and James Drylie provide the most informative examination, to date, of the phenomenon often called "suicide by cop," increasingly known by the term, "copicide." Numerous case examples explore the wide variety of scenarios faced by officers, many of them rendering some confusion when coming to a finding of SbC. Violanti and Drylie do an excellent job of examining each in detail, however, and produce a valuable insight and recommendations for law enforcement agencies to consider, both in their training and evaluations. They also explore the uncomfortable topic of officers committing "suicide by suspect," or "suicide by cop turned inside out."


Police Suicide'POLICE SUICIDE Epidemic in Blue' 2nd Edition 2008 by far out-ranks any book we've read thus far on the police lifestyle, stress, trauma and suicide. John M. Violanti succinctly points out how difficult it is to identify the problems when police agencies continue to hide and misclassify suicides under the ignorant premise that they are "shameful." The result, he demonstrates, is that the picture of the problem remains confusing and that it is only through indirect means that we can even project there's a true problem.



Under the Blue ShadowJohn Violanti and Stephanie Samuels bring it all together in
'Under the Blue Shadow' 2007, a book that explores the psychological dangers of a police career with compelling case studies. Violanti continues his reputation as America's foremost authority on police psychology, and Stephanie Samuels shows herself to be a voice of great value as well.


Who gets PTSD? 'Who Gets PTSD?' 2007 contains research by Violanti, Paton and others on why many police officers suffer full-blown PTSD and others do not. The book looks at trauma types, frequency of exposure, personal, event and organizational influences for keys. “From the moment the police officer enters police work, the socialization process molds him/her into depersonalized relationships and a myth of indestructibility. The effect of trauma, with its ensuing surge of emotions, devastates this myth." Excellent advanced reading for instructors, peer officers and others involved in police mental health programs.


Traumatic Stress in Police Officers ' From Recruit to Retirement: A Career-Length Assessment of Posttraumatic Stress in Police Officers' by Charles C. Thomas. Paton. D., Violanti, J.M., Burke, K., & Gerhke, A. (book is in press)

We propose with this new book to develop a viable resource to explore interactive issues of trauma over the entire police career course. The book will draw upon empirical research to provide an evidence-based approach to traumatic stress risk management. We will start with police officer pre-employment experiences and conclude with a discussion of the implications of disengagement or retirement from the police role. We feel that this book is unique in two ways. First, the majority of volumes on police psychological issues do not differentiate with regard to career stage. Secondly, very few books reflect complex patterns of interaction between vulnerability and resilience characteristics that occur at individual, team, group and organizational levels, as well as involving interaction between these levels. This book will be one of the first to pull these various threads together and provide a comprehensive account of the impact of trauma throughout the police career. This work will provide a framework that police agencies can use to develop their officers and their organizations in ways that enhance their capability to confront an increasingly uncertain future. It will also be useful as a teaching tool for police officers, mental health professionals, and supportive organizations.


'The Psychology of Human Performance: International and Law Enforcement Perspectives' by Bartone, P.T., Johnsen, B.H., Eid, J., Violanti, J.M., & Laberg, J.C.
(book is in preparation)


"Police Suicide: Tactics for Prevention" by Dell P. Hackett and John M. Violanti
Charles C. Thomas Publisher, LTD Springfield, Illinois, 2003, ISBN 0-398-07334
read book review >>


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In Harm's Way: Law Enforcement Suicide Prevention