The lifeless body of a senior police officer in the Israel Police’s traffic division was discovered on Sunday morning after an apparent suicide. The officer, Yoni Giz, left behind a note explaining that the grisly car accident scenes he encountered on a daily basis drove him to take his own life.
“I can hear the casualties of car accidents call me,” the letter read.
After the recently promoted officer failed to appear to work and did not answer his phone, police sent a dispatch to his apartment. There, his colleagues found Giz with a gunshot wound to his upper body, and his personal firearm by his side. The emergency medical team pronounced his death at the scene.
“We are in shock,” a senior officer told Ynet. “He left behind a letter [that was] very difficult to read. We do workshops for people in these sorts of positions, but it turns out that everyone takes it differently.”
“The Israel Police and traffic division express much grief and sorrow over the untimely, tragic death of the officer,” a statement from the Israel Police read. “The officer served as chief of the traffic accidents division, with excellence, professionalism, and according to the values of the Israel Police.”
While representatives from the Israel Police expressed dismay and surprise at Giz’s death, other traffic cops claimed that symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder and even suicide attempts were not uncommon among the officers in the division. In his final years, Giz saw a psychologist and was diagnosed with PTSD.
“I tried to commit suicide because of car accidents; there were a few others that tried,” an unnamed officer told Channel 2. “It’s one of the most difficult things there is. You don’t know what scene will appear, you don’t forget the smells, and the most difficult is the families with whom you have to sit down and explain, while all the while you’re eating yourself up inside.”
Other policemen told Channel 2 that they experienced difficulties sleeping and persistent flashbacks, and were not aware that they were eligible for psychological treatment.
“The worst are accidents with children and soldiers,” said Motti Kazas, a 51-year-old officer. “I know officers that left the police or took mental health leave because of these difficulties.”