TAMPA, Fla. (WFLA) — A newly-released 911 call shows the intense moments after Miami-Dade Police Director Freddy Ramirez attempted to take his life with a single gunshot to the head.
The incident happened on Interstate 75 just outside of Tampa on July 23 as Ramirez was leaving a sheriff’s conference.
Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister says Ramirez became involved in a domestic dispute at a hotel where the conference was being held, and staff asked him to leave.
Ramirez left, then a short time later, an identified woman called 911 and pleaded for help.
A dispatcher calmly advised her not to go back into the car, telling her repeatedly that an ambulance has been dispatched.
Ramirez survived his injuries and is expected to recover.
Mental health is an issue for many first responders. Lieutenant Lisa Parashis runs the officer wellness program for the Tampa Police Department.
“This is a very difficult career and I don’t think a lot of young officers going into the profession have a good understanding of what they are about to get into,” said Parashis.
She said many young officers start their career because they want to help the community.
“But what they don’t understand is how difficult it’s going to be and take an emotional toll on them and a physical toll over the years,” said Parashis.
She said that help is available, and the program is working to help first responders overcome stigmas around mental health so they will ask for help when it’s needed.
“We all go through things in our career and it doesn’t have to end your career, but there are time periods when it may be a little bit too much and so you have to be able take a break, get the help you need to be, get you back where you need to be so you can be out there serving the community,” said Parashis.