Nathan James HEARPS
New South Wales Police Force
Regd. # 37167
Stations: Quakers Hill
Service: From ? ? ? to 6 May 2007 = ? years of Service
Awards: ? Nil
Born: 30 August 1978
Died on: 6 May 2007
Cause: Suicide – jumped from building
Funeral: 14 May 2007
Funeral location: Castlebrook Crematorium
Buried at: Cremated
Memorial: NSW Police force Service Memorial Wall, Sydney Police Centre, Surry Hills, C30 ( left wall )
Constable found dead
- The Daily Telegraph
- May 07, 2007
AN off-duty police officer was found dead outside a Surry Hills apartment block yesterday after threatening suicide with a knife.
The constable, aged 27, had served three years with the police force.
Police were called to a unit in South Dowling St after reports of a domestic dispute involving a man threatening to commit suicide with a knife.
A Surry Hills police spokesman said when officers arrived at the scene they found the constable dead and it appeared he had fallen from a third storey window.
He confirmed there was one witness to the man’s death, believed to be his partner.
The constable from the Quakers Hill command is the 15th police officer or former officer to die unnaturally in seven years.
Last week Police Commissioner Ken Moroney openly talked about the daily stresses and trauma of police work after an officer attempted suicide.
Last Monday, a 39-year-old senior constable barricaded himself inside Earlwood police station with his own service gun and threatened to take his life.
Police negotiators managed to talk the officer, who was having marriage problems, around and the siege ended peacefully.
Mr Moroney last night extended condolences to the Quaker’s Hill officer’s family, friends and colleagues.
The NSW Police Force is working with the Black Dog Institute on a new program to help police recognise mental health issues.
At least 200 police are off work on stress leave.
The death of the officer yesterday was the first of a serving officer since Greg Norman Lundberg died in Menai police station on January 7.
Last week the commissioner said his police were not made of concrete and that police faced a daily barrage of trauma, including child sexual abuse, murder and road carnage.
“As much as you try and shut it out, it must ultimately have an impact,” Mr Moroney said.
“I keep saying to my officers it is OK to cry in a stressful situation or at the funeral of a colleague. Don’t bottle it up.
“If you are showing signs and symptoms of stress there are internal mechanisms, we can deal with that, if you had a broken leg or a cold you wouldn’t be ashamed.”
A spokesman said the constable’s death was not being treated as suspicious.
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Policeman dies in apparent suicide fall
May 7, 2007 – 5:54AM
That incident came just ten days after the suspected suicide of ACT police chief Audrey Fagan.
Experts say relationship breakdown is a major factor for police, with many officers tending to have unstable personal relationships.
The weekend’s events have again thrown the spotlight on the mental health of police officers and the high rate of suicide within their ranks.
Before yesterday’s incident, 14 serving and former NSW officers had taken their own lives in the past seven years, the most recent being 29-year-old constable Greg Norman Lundberg on January 7.
About 200 NSW officers are currently on stress leave.
Mr Moroney last week announced that a program by the Black Dog Institute, an organisation set up to deal with depression, was launched in March to teach senior police officers how to spot stress and depression in their staff.
All officers above the rank of superintendent will have completed the one-day course by the end of the year, and inspectors and sergeants will follow next year.
Other support programs, including peer support officers, are available to all officers.
Mr Moroney said the Wellcheck program, which is aimed at police in high-risk specialist areas such as child abuse and accident investigation, will also be extended to general duties officers.
What pushed officer to his death
- The Daily Telegraph
- May 08, 2007
FOR five years Constable Nathan Hearps dedicated his career to protecting the residents of Quakers Hill.
Now his death in a fall from an apartment block after he threatened suicide with a knife has shocked a police force scrambling to deal with rising mental health issues.
Constable Hearps, 29, took up his post at Quakers Hill with seven other new officers after graduating in a class of 640 from the police college in September 2002.
At the time he and his fellow recruits were praised by local MP John Aquilina for their commitment to protecting local residents.
Constable Hearps grew up in Cattai in Sydney’s northwest.
Five years ago he was watching when his father Carl miraculously survived a 250km/h powerboat crash during a race on the Hawkesbury River.
Fellow officers said he was badly affected after seeing a woman throw herself in front of train a year ago while he was off duty.
Early on Sunday morning, fellow officers were called to an apartment block in South Dowling St, Surry Hills where two men were in a domestic argument, with one threatening suicide with a knife.
By the time officers arrived just before 3am they found Constable Hearps‘ body on the footpath below an open window.
His partner said on Sunday night: “I just wish this never happened.
Constable Hearps‘ death comes as police said they would reopen the cases of 12 officers who have committed suicide over the past seven years as the force works to find any links between the deaths and the pressure of the job.
A spokesman for the Police Medical Officer announced he would examine the officers’ medical and psychological backgrounds to see whether better support mechanisms were needed.
“That might inform us of anyone who might be at risk in the future,” police director of safety Julie Wills said.
News police would reopen the cases of previous suicides emerged as the NSW Police Association criticised the force for not conducting exit interviews of officers who choose to leave the force.
They said such interviews would help determine how officers are coping with the stresses of the job.
The union is now working on its own plan to interview officers who leave the force.
Association research director Greg Chilvers said exit interviews were a crucial guide to understanding problems in the workplace.
“It costs tens of thousands of dollars to train police to work independently in the field and they don’t even know why these people are resigning from the force,” he said.
“Wouldn’t you like to know, as an employer, if people are leaving because stress is too high or because they’re sick of the place?
“We have spoken to them for many years about doing this but it never happens.”
Fellow officers said Constable Hearps was well liked and would be missed.
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