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New Orleans police officer commits suicide

Tuesday, September 6, 2005

Sgt. Paul Accardo was found dead last Saturday, in an unmarked police car. The officer, who served as a chief spokesperson for the New Orleans Police Department, committed suicide sometime last week.

"Paul was a stellar guy. A perfectionist. Everything had to be just right," said Sgt. Joe Narcisse, who worked with Sgt. Accardo. Working 20-hour days after Hurricane Katrina rolled through, seeing the dead and injured, hearing the cries of helpless families, and being unable to help them got to Accardo, said Capt. Marlon Defillo.

The New Orleans Police Department has suffered heavy losses in personnel. As many as 400 to 500 officers were unaccounted for, likely to be searching for their families, or attempting to return to what is left of their homes. But Accardo is the second suicide death to hit the force since the storm. Officials say that officers were being cycled off-duty, and received vacations, as well as counseling, to help reduce the grief and anguish that many officers are experiencing.

Funeral services are planned for Wednesday. Accardo is survived by his wife, Anne, his mother, a brother and a sister, and eight nieces and nephews.

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