OSP mourns after sergeant takes his own life

LA GRANDE, Ore. – Oregon State Police troopers are in mourning after losing one of their own this week. OSP issued the following press release Thursday:

The entire Oregon State Police family is grief-stricken by the loss of Sergeant Marcus McDowell. On Tuesday, March 29, 2022, Sergeant Marcus McDowell, who works out of our La Grande Patrol Office, was found deceased in his patrol car. Our hearts go out to his family, friends, and co-workers as they cope with this tragic incident.

Sergeant McDowell was a seventeen-year veteran of this agency. He was respected by all and especially those he has worked so closely with throughout the years. Marcus spent his career at OSP as a member of the Patrol Division, Fish and Wildlife Division, and as a K-9 handler working in the John Day and La Grande areas.

The Wallowa County Sheriff’s Office is leading the investigation into his death. The State Medical Examiner’s Office has determined the manner of death to be suicide. He was on duty at the time of his death.

Oregon State Police Superintendent Davie activated our Critical Incident Response Team to provide peer support to our members that have been impacted by this tragedy. The Oregon State Police thanks the members of the public and other public safety partners for their support during this difficult time.

Law Enforcement Officers have some of the same struggles as the rest of us and need help too. Mental Health is just as important as physical health in Law Enforcement. It has only been since 2018 that The Law Enforcement Mental Health and Wellness Act of 2017 (LEMHWA) was signed into law recognizing that law enforcement agencies need and deserve support in their ongoing efforts to protect the mental health and well-being of their employees.

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, speak up, ask for help, reach out to professionals. There are many resources available to everyone. The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline provides 24/7, free and confidential support for people in distress, prevention and crisis resources for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals in the United States- 1-800-273-8255. Crisis Text Line is a texting service for emotional crisis support. Text HELLO to 741741. It is free, available 24/7, and confidential.

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