By Tim Priester
Although Detective Dan Cucchi may have only spent six years with Coral Springs Police Department, he had left such an indelible mark that many would have thought he spent his entire 29-year career there.
“Some referred to him as ‘Father Dan’ as he was a tremendous mentor for the younger officers,” Paul Kempinski, Vice President for FOP Lodge 87 said of Cucchi’s impact on the department.
In 2014, Det. Cucchi gained notoriety after helping crack a 23-year-0ld case of a murdered woman in Coral Springs.
However, despite outward appearances, Detective Cucchi was quietly suffering and struggling with post-traumatic stress disorder and sadly took his own life in 2015.
To help the memory of Cucchi live on, Saturday, November 14 beginning at 8:30 a.m., there will be a short ceremony at the tree that was dedicated in his honor. The tree is located in front of the Coral Springs Police Department, which is located at 2801 Coral Springs Drive.
Immediately following the observance of Det. Cucchi, there will be an “Out of the Darkness Walk”, which was organized by friends and family of Cucchi and will help raise money for the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.
According to Kempinski, police officers, even with all their special training and safety equipment, are not immune to PTSD and its terrible effects.
In fact, as reported by Blue H.E.L.P., an organization created to bring to light the issue of suicide within the police department and tracks police officer suicides, there were a staggering 236 officer suicides in 2019.
While many officers continue to struggle and cope in darkness and silence with mental health issues, hopefully, the tree and “Out of Darkness Walk” honoring Det. Cucchi will continue raising more awareness of what officers are facing once they leave their homes.
This article has been corrected and updated from the original to reflect the event is a ceremony and walk in Cucchi’s honor.
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