Officer who died by suicide remembered as a charismatic, skilled investigator
Flags were lowered outside Ottawa Police headquarters on Elgin Street Saturday in honour of an officer who died by suicide inside the station on Friday.
Det. Thomas Roberts, who was working as an investigator in the robbery unit, was described as “an amazing, charismatic young officer,” said Interim Police Chief Steve Bell.
Roberts leaves behind a wife and 9-month-old son along with family in the Ottawa area.
Bell said they’re working to support his family now and in the future. “They are not alone in their grief. We are all grieving with them.”
Roberts joined Ottawa Police as a constable in 2016 after working with RCMP out west.
In 2018, he was one of the officers who ran into a burning building to rescue a man and was awarded a Chief’s Commendation.
“That shows the level of commitment he had to this profession, to this community, to make it safer every single day,” said Bell.
The officer’s death comes nearly five years to the day that Staff Sgt. Kal Ghadban died by suicide in his office at police headquarters.
Bell said the service has worked to improve mental health support and services to members but said more needs to be done.
“We know we have to refocus our efforts. We know we actually have to really make sure that not only are we providing the right programming for our members but they know how to access them and know how to engage in them and that we remove barriers that exist like stigma around mental health,” Bell said.
There are many resources available if you need to talk with someone for support including the Distress Centre of Ottawa. It's open 24/7 at 613-238-3311.