Local news reported that. “Hochman left a five- to six-page note behind ‘indicating the killings were premeditated,’ the local police chief said. Harrison police Chief Anthony Marraccini said the note described Glen Hochman’s actions and told his wife, Anamarie DiPietro-Hochman, what she ‘needed to do to get things in order for the family.’ The girls — Alissa, 18, and Deanna, 13 — apparently had both already been fatally shot in the head in their rooms at the 1 Adelphi Ave. home when Hochman wrote the note sometime after 2 a.m. Saturday.
While it’s unclear exactly when Hochman wrote the note, “he did indicate in the letter that the two girls were taken away’ and explained why he had done so, Marraccini said at a briefing with reporters late Monday morning. He would not be more specific.”
I know that there’s lots of news about post traumatic stress disorder — mostly involving soldiers who’ve returned home. There is some coverage of PTSD involving police and other public safety first-responders. It’s my opinion that we may be missing a factor in this situation. I don’t doubt that traumatic stress causes problems, but there’s also accumulated stress; stress caused by police supervisors and so-called leaders. I believe the following developments can lead to an explosion in some cases:
1). Upon retirement (or termination) the officer loses his sense of professional IDENTITY (no longer being a member of a group and having the camaraderie of co-workers).
2). After griping about their agencies for years, some experience the ‘grass isn’t always greener’ after retirement. It’s not that easy to walk into a satisfactory second career and become self-employed and successful. It might sound good to no longer have the daily stress of an unappreciative public and to no longer have a target on your back from your own department, but that isn’t satisfying forever.
3). A combination of loss of identity, self-esteem, support from peers, and feeling that you were USED can cause personal decline, self-destruction, and even early death. There’s a saying that police retirement systems are strong because so many former officers die so soon after retirement. I once wrote a column, “Don’t Buy The Big Lie” based on experiences that I had and am aware of. The squad that I belonged to in 2006 was decimated by the LVMPD since then: some were
alleged to have been involved in misconduct, some had health problems, some left on their own volition, others just tried to stay and survive. A great group of guys are now no longer police officers, scattered elsewhere in the LVMPD or other departments, or can’t be found.
If ANSWERS about the Walters family tragedy are available and preventive steps can be taken, maybe even Sheriff Joe-Lo can break-out from the insular culture of the LVMPD and possibly save police officer’s lives!
ATTITUDE and ARROGANCE are two of the greatest hazards to reform in policing. There’s news on police websites of the training that the NYPD has implemented after the Eric Garner death. It’s very troubling to see news stories citing ‘one’ attendee who said the training was a waste of time and that he was being asked to close his eyes during high stress incidents. “Completely useless,” “not realistic” and “pretty silly” were other quotes attributed to attendees.
Reputable police magazines call this an officer safety issue. I’ve never heard that the NYPD is the most well-trained police department in the U.S. They have over 30,000 police officers and receive very poor pay in comparison to other agencies. Who are a handful of street cops to say that the training initiated by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton is a waste of time? Some even said people were yawning or falling asleep during the training. Maybe they should stop thinking
about themselves and worry about what the law-abiding and police-supporting members of the public think when they assess the conduct of NYPD officers on a daily basis. Police work for the public — not for themselves!
Sometimes it’s just a matter of who is delivering the message. I attended training by Lt. Col Dave Grossman, who researched ‘killing’ in wartime and has also written books about school shootings — among other things. He was highly respected and taught ‘tactical breathing’ as a way to control the stress and emotions that can help an officer survive a potentially deadly encounter. Getting yourself under CONTROL (without closing your eyes) can also help an officer survive in another way. You can keep your career by not letting anger and emotion overcome reason. I’ve never heard anyone criticize Grossman.
Cops ‘accept’ a military or ‘tactical’ message being delivered by someone they respect. They do NOT as readily accept a message from a ‘civilian’ trainer or an ‘outsider’ even if it is a new police chief trying to make improvements. I continue to see stories like this and to lose respect for the officers acting so selfishly and in such a narrow-minded manner. Many of us tried elevating policing to a profession and it’s frustrating to watch the decline of trust and respect. It takes courage and individual strength to fight against the current. A program known as Blue Courage was actually part of the NYPD
training. What policing needs is to break down this ATTITUDE AND ARROGANCE which is taking the easy route. It’s easy to be part of those nine out of 10 officers who engage in group-think. It’s much more difficult to be an independent voice and show true leadership.
Does anyone remember former LAPD Officer Christopher Dorner and his manifesto: “The question is, what would you do to clear your name?”… A name is more than just a noun, verb, or adjective. It’s your life, your legacy, your journey, sacrifices, and everything you’ve worked hard for every day of your life as an adolescent, young adult and adult. Don’t let anybody tarnish it when you know you’ve lived up to your own set of ethics and personal ethos.”
I have a challenge to current and former officers. Rather than falling asleep during training and backstabbing your leadership, WHAT WILL YOU DO to retain the pride and honor of the profession and improve the public trust?
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