Toledo, OH – Toledo Police Officer Jeffrey Payne was found dead of a suspected suicide at his home on Tuesday.
Lucas County deputies responded to the 53-year-old officer’s residence to carry out a welfare check, after he failed to show up for his scheduled shift at work earlier that morning, WTVG reported.
Although the investigation into Officer Payne’s death is ongoing, investigators believe his death was a suicide, Toledo Police Department (TPD) Lieutenant Kevan Toney told The Toledo Blade.
“It is with a heavy heart that I announce the death of Officer Jeffrey Payne,” Toledo Police Chief George Kral said, according to WTOL.
“I want to express my condolences to Officer Payne’s family, friends, and colleagues,” Chief Kral continued. “To all our officers and police family, please continue to be your brother and sister’s keeper by encouraging the practice of utilizing our Peer Support Team…and professional mental health resources.”
Officer Payne joined the TPD on Jan. 24, 1997, and spent the bulk of his career serving in the agency’s field operations unit, Lt. Toney told The Toledo Blade.
He was also trained as a negotiator and as a traffic accident reconstructionist.
Ohio Fraternal Order of Police President Gary Wolske said that the union plans to work with Ohio lawmakers to create a bill to help provide better resources to law enforcement officers struggling with mental health issues, The Toledo Blade reported.
“We mourn the tragic and senseless loss of our law enforcement brother in Toledo who saw no path to healing and turned to suicide,” Wolske said in the wake of Officer Payne’s death.
“Enough is enough. There has to be another way — we have to work [to] fix what’s broken and to ensure that police officers have [Post Traumatic Stress Disorder] mental health coverage so that they get the help that they need,” he added.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Toledo Police Officer Jeffrey Payne, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.