‘I Got Your 6 Tour’: Former Washtenaw County deputy aims to raise awareness about police suicide

Jeff Carek and wife to bike nearly 700 miles during awareness campaign

Local man to raise awareness on suicide prevention

WASHTENAW COUNTY, Mich. – A former Washtenaw County Sheriff’s deputy is working with his wife to raise awareness about police suicide and mental health.

Jeff Carek said he lost two partners to suicide and shortly before he retired he was diagnosed with PTSD and anxiety. Carek and his wife, both live in Ferndale. They’re going on a grueling bike ride to raise awareness about mental health issues that impact police officers.

The couple will start their bike ride at Detroit police headquarters on Aug. 28. They’ll bike and camp, aiming to cross nearly 700 miles before they end their trip in Washington D.C. on Sept. 5. They’re hoping to raise money along the way.

“I lost two partners over the course of my career to suicide, plus several other friends,” Carek said. “We are human beings and we experience a vast amount of trauma over the course of our careers.”

He was working with the Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Office when a close friend and fellow deputy died by suicide in 2002. He was retired when another friend and deputy died by suicide in 2019.

“It was pretty devastating. Both. One partner while I was on duty. I found out about it. And then the second partner. I was on the other side of the world when I found out about it. Again, devastating. As soon as I saw the Facebook message I knew what it was about,” Carek said.

His campaign to raise awareness is called the “I Got Your 6 Tour,’ which means “I have your back.”

If you are in a crisis, or know someone who needs help, you can contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or contact the Crisis Text Line by texting TALK to 741741.

Click here to view the GoFundMe page.

Read: More mental health news coverage

About the Authors:

Priya joined WDIV-Local 4 in 2013 as a reporter and fill-in anchor. Education: B.A. in Communications/Post Grad in Advanced Journalism

Kayla is a Web Producer for ClickOnDetroit. Before she joined the team in 2018 she worked at WILX in Lansing as a digital producer.