Four current and former Los Angeles Sheriff’s Department (LASD) employees have committed suicide within a 24-hour period.
Commander Darren Harris, a 25-year veteran of LASD who had previously served as the department’s chief spokesperson, was found dead with a self-inflicted gunshot wound in his Santa Clarita home on Monday morning.
On Monday afternoon, Sergeant Greg Hovland was found dead at his Quartz Hill home followed by a third LASD employee who was found dead at a Stevenson Ranch home Monday evening.
On Tuesday morning, a fourth LASD employee was pronounced dead by suicide at a Pomona hospital after Sheriff’s homicide detectives arrived on scene.
The two other deceased officers have not been identified as of Thursday morning.
“We are stunned to learn of these deaths, and it has sent shock waves of emotions throughout the department as we try and cope with the loss of not just one, but four beloved active and retired members of our department family,” Los Angeles County Sheriff Robert Luna said in a Tuesday statement. “During trying times like these it’s important for personnel regardless of rank or position to check on the well-being of other colleagues and friends.”
4 current, former LASD employees die by suicide in last two days https://t.co/ZEU678Chbf
— ABC7 Eyewitness News (@ABC7) November 8, 2023
LASD is “urgently exploring avenues to reduce work stress factors to support our employees’ work and personal lives,” according to Luna. LASD is also providing counseling and other resources via the department’s Psychological Services Bureau and the Injury and Health Support Unit to families of the officers.
“There are so many officers out there that are struggling with their identity, with finances, with relationship problems, with addictions to pain meds, addiction to alcohol, you name it,” Coria said. “There are so many things going on, that our departments are not reaching out to them [struggling officers] enough.”
The deaths follow four other LASD employees that have been found dead by suicide, according to an agency spokesperson.
LASD currently has about 18,000 employees.