After Lemoore Police officer's suicide, widow works to erase stigma

LEMOORE, Calif. (KFSN) -- The widow of a Lemoore Police officer who recently took his own life wants to help erase the stigma of mental health illness.

When Corporal Jonathan Giles committed suicide last month, it came as a shock to colleagues and many others because he was always smiling. His wife Crystal urged anyone who was struggling with depression to seek help.

Jonathan Giles was known as Lemoore's dancing cop. Crystal Giles explained, "He was always dancing and singing to the beat of his own drum."

But Giles hid a dark secret. His wife Crystal said he suffered from depression but never sought help. "He would say I don't want to or I'm afraid to because I'll lose my badge and gun."

Jon Giles took his own life November 7th and is survived by his wife, eight-year-old Riley and three-year-old Talon.

For five years, Giles served both Lemoore PD and the Kings County SWAT team.

Lemoore PD Chief Darrell Smith said, "It's human nature to try to determine were there any warning signs, and in this case, if he had any, he hid them very well."

Crystal recounted how her husband's struggles intensified after four years in the US Marine Corps, but he was eager to begin his work in law enforcement. Her message to everyone was, "Don't say you're okay when they're not okay. The family's not going to think less of you."

Chief Smith added, "I've seen officers that have asked for help, and they're still officers today, so the stigma that you're going to lose your job if you ask for help is simply not true."

Crystal tearfully shared her battle, "I tried to take my own life three years ago."

Jon supported his wife by attending her therapy sessions but not once did he seek help himself. Crystal said, "If I can save any first responder or anybody, not even law enforcement family, and not have to have another eight year old or child be told that their daddy's not coming home."

Riley made a sign for her father on his birthday. It fell on Thanksgiving, 15 days after his death.

A study conducted by the Ruderman Family Foundation showed 140 law enforcement officers committed suicide a year ago. That number was higher than the number of officers killed in the line of duty
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