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New Orleans Police Stunned by Suicides
Yahoo -AP ^ | 9/06/05 | CAIN BURDEAU

Posted on 09/06/2005 2:32:23 PM PDT by Borges

NEW ORLEANS -- Life wasn't supposed to end this way for Sgt. Paul Accardo: alone in chaos. He wrote a note telling anyone who found him to contact a fellow officer. He was precise, and thoughtful, to the end. Then he stuck a gun into his mouth and killed himself.

Accardo, 36, was one of two city cops who committed suicide last week as New Orleans descended into an abyss of death and destruction caused by Hurricane Katrina. He was found in an unmarked patrol car Saturday in a downtown parking lot.

His funeral was planned for Wednesday.

Back when life was normal and structured, Accardo served as one of the police department's chief spokesmen. He reported murders, hostage situations and rapes in measured words, his bespectacled face benign and familiar on the nightly news.

"Paul was a stellar guy. A perfectionist. Everything had to be just right," recalled Sgt. Joe Narcisse, who went to police academy with Accardo and worked with him in the public affairs office.

Uniform crisply pressed, office in order, everything just right on his desk. That was Accardo.

"I'm the jokester in the office. I'd move stuff on his desk and he didn't like that," said Capt. Marlon Defillo, Accardo's boss. "He was ready to call the crime lab to find out who messed with his desk."

Maybe, Defillo reckoned, he killed himself because he lost hope that order would ever be restored in the city.

A public information officer, the captain said, turns the senseless -- murder, rape, mayhem -- into something orderly for the public. "It's like dominoes scattered across a table and putting them in order."

But in New Orleans for the past week, the chaos seemed endless.

Like the rest of the department, Accardo worked long, difficult days -- sometimes 20 hours. He waded through the mass of flesh and stench in the Louisiana Superdome. He saw the dead in the streets.

Defillo remembered how bad Accardo felt when he was unable to help women stranded on the interstate and pleading for water and food. One woman said her baby had not had water in three days.

He even wanted to stop and help the animals lost amid the ruin of New Orleans, Defillo said.

Unable to stop the madness and hurt, Accardo sank into depression.

Narcisse remembered being on the telephone with him, complaining about the flooding when his old academy buddy cut him off midsentence: "Joe. Joe. I can't talk to you right now." He couldn't handle it anymore, Narcisse said.

"It was like you were having an awful conversation with someone who died in your family," he said.

Accardo -- who also lost his home in the flood waters -- looked like a zombie, like someone who hadn't slept in year, Defillo said. But so did so many on the 1,600-member force.

Officials said Monday that between 400 to 500 officers were unaccounted for, many tending to their homes or looking for their families, and some dropping out. To lessen the stress, officers were being cycled off duty and given five-day vacations in Las Vegas and Atlanta, where they also would receive counseling.

Said Mayor Ray Nagin: "I've got some firefighters and police officers that have been pretty much traumatized."

Police Superintendent Eddie Compass didn't know how many had abandoned their jobs outright, but denied that it was a large number.

"No police department in the history of the world was asked to do what we (were) asked," he said.

But Defillo said he never thought Accardo would kill himself.

"We kept telling him, 'There's going to be a brighter day; suck it up,'" Defillo said. "He couldn't shake it."

According to the obituary in the Advocate of Baton Rouge, Accardo left a wife, Anne; his mother, Catherine; a brother; a sister; and eight nieces and nephews.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; US: Louisiana
KEYWORDS: katrina; leo; neworleans; nopd; suicide
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1 posted on 09/06/2005 2:32:33 PM PDT by Borges
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To: Borges

RIP


2 posted on 09/06/2005 2:36:22 PM PDT by misterrob
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To: Borges

The Vegas offer came too late.


3 posted on 09/06/2005 2:37:42 PM PDT by battlegearboat
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To: Borges

RIP...prayer for the officers that stayed on the job when their buddies didn't.


4 posted on 09/06/2005 2:38:34 PM PDT by TXBubba ( Democrats: If they don't abort you then they will tax you to death.)
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To: Borges

Very sad. Prayers for him and his family.

There's been a lot of criticism of the NOPD on this forum, but I would suspect that many of them were quite heroic in their activities under very stressful conditions and without much support from either their mayor or the governor. People should knock back on the criticism and think a bit about what it must have been like in NO those few horrible days.


5 posted on 09/06/2005 2:39:08 PM PDT by livius
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To: Borges

Am I the first? BUSH'S FAULT


6 posted on 09/06/2005 2:40:37 PM PDT by JackDanielsOldNo7 (If it wasn't for marriage, I would not have this screenname.)
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To: Borges
Paul was a stellar guy. A perfectionist. Everything had to be just right ... Uniform crisply pressed, office in order, everything just right on his desk. That was Accardo.

Very sad.

*adjusting tin-foil hat*

...so was Vince Foster. I wonder if there is more behind this tale than meets the eye?

7 posted on 09/06/2005 2:43:23 PM PDT by Gritty ("Politics in America remains committed to a system of lavish funding of pseudo-action - Mark Steyn)
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To: livius
People should knock back on the criticism and think a bit about what it must have been like in NO those few horrible days.

Maybe people here would rather think about the tens of thousands of people who suffered because the NOPD didn't do their job, but I do agree that for some of the NOPD who didn't desert, their job did become harder when the feds came in because they could no longer loot in uniform.

(Maybe when I stop hearing all the criticism of President Bush I'll find it in my heart to feel sorry for the NOPD. NOT!)

8 posted on 09/06/2005 2:47:10 PM PDT by HateBill (Democratic Message: "Kiss Terrorist A*s" vs. Republican Message: "Kick Terrorist A*s")
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To: Borges
What must life had been like for those guys. We are all just now finding out what they knew all to well:

Their Mayor was an idiot. He inspired confidence in no one. I can understand despair in that situation. They had to know help wasn't coming anytime soon with that worthless idiot in charge.

9 posted on 09/06/2005 2:47:47 PM PDT by lawnguy (It works Napoleon, you don't even know.)
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To: Gritty

I was wondering about this also.....

Now that Congress is doing an investigation, I'm sure we'll all know the truth soon......NOT. Paging Jamie Gorelick, paging Jamie Gorelick.....


10 posted on 09/06/2005 2:53:05 PM PDT by Rockitz (Geena YES, Hill NO!)
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To: lawnguy

No doubt they were facing horrific conditions, but some of them handled it and others didn't. This man had the classic signs of an Obsessive Compulsive Personality. His life was about order. He simply couldn't cope with disorder. Sad, but chances are at some point in his life he was going to face something he couldn't put in order and the result would be the same. Pray for his family.


11 posted on 09/06/2005 3:01:50 PM PDT by WVNan
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To: Borges

Tragic...I just hope they're sure it's suicide...chaos often creates the perfect cover for murder.


12 posted on 09/06/2005 3:04:07 PM PDT by Katya (Homo Nosce Te Ipsum)
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Comment #13 Removed by Moderator

To: livius

Hard to feel for the N.O. police when I have burned in my memory the tape of the two N.O. police oficers strolling thru wal-mart looting using a shopping cart.
Matter of factly just taking.
I am sure many of the real police acted heroicly but it seems there were a lot of people that were immitating police officers/hell look at N.Y. police officers and compare.


14 posted on 09/06/2005 3:21:25 PM PDT by Joe Boucher (an enemy of islam)
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To: Borges

Prayers...but my prayers go to the men who fought the crime, helped their citizens and stayed on the job.


15 posted on 09/06/2005 3:26:01 PM PDT by Conservative4Ever (God bless America...land that I love...stand beside her and guide her...)
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To: Borges

Wonder if he was one of the cops Shep and the other newsmen kept harrassing. I felt embarrassment for the ignorance of these so-called reporters.


16 posted on 09/06/2005 3:32:24 PM PDT by PROUDAMREP (THANK YOU, PRESIDENT BUSH, AND OUR WONDERFUL TROOPS)
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To: WVNan
His life was about order. He simply couldn't cope with disorder

Very good analysis. Everything was out of control and beyond his control so there seemed to be only one option available to him for regaining control.

Worked for him but unleashed a hell for his family and coworkers for months or years to come.

Selfish bastard.

17 posted on 09/06/2005 3:42:16 PM PDT by lightman (The Office of the Keys should be exercised as some ministry needs to be exorcised.)
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To: Borges

My bet is that they saw that, with the flooding of New Orleans, the revenue streams from kickbacks, payoffs and graft would end and they were already in over their heads. Of course, I may be wrong, it may be that there wholesale/retail drug suppliers were gone and they had nowhere to go!


18 posted on 09/06/2005 4:22:40 PM PDT by Tacis ("Democrats - The Party of Traitors, Treachery and Treason!")
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To: livius

Prayers are a waste. He was a atheist.


19 posted on 09/06/2005 4:31:19 PM PDT by Oztrich Boy (I will not defame New Orleans)
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To: Joe Boucher
the two N.O. police oficers strolling thru wal-mart looting using a shopping cart. Matter of factly just taking.

Weren't they in the shoes & socks isle? It really does depend on what they were taking whether or not it was wrong. Do you think they had family (children) at home with needs, after this disaster? DVD players, a TV, VCR, latest hip-hop CD's? Didn't look like that kind of stuff to me.

Don't be merciless. I'm tough, but not merciless. Have mercy, they were in the throes of disaster with people dying around them and neck deep in nastiness for 2 or 3 days, with no clean water, and on foot wading thru nastiness.

James 2:13 "For judgment will be merciless to one who has shown no mercy; mercy triumphs over judgment."

That said, I don't want my money taken from me to rebuild that city in a fish bowl.

20 posted on 09/06/2005 8:27:51 PM PDT by Lester Moore (islam's allah is Satan and is NOT the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.)
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