The Washington D.C. Metropolitan Police Department and colleagues in the surrounding region are grieving the loss of Officer Paul Dittamo, 32, who died in the early morning hours of October 30, 2010 after his cruiser crashed into a utility pole responding to a call at approximately 1:30 a.m. Officer Dittamo was pronounced dead at 2:06 a.m. His partner, who was riding with him, sustained injuries but is expected to survive. The crash remains under investigation to determine the cause.
Officer Dittamo was on the force a little over a year and worked in the 7th District in the city. A young life, a new and aspiring officer, and a colleague and friend to many, is gone. His sudden and tragic death leaves a void in the department and impacts the lives of those who knew and worked with him. His death even touches the lives of those who were not acquainted with him.
For all who work in the criminal justice system –whether nearby or far away—Officer Dittamo’s death has a profound effect. His partner, ever so fortunate to be alive, must deal with the emotional impact of the shock and trauma resulting from the realization that his partner died while he survived.
Chief Cathy Lanier also grieves the loss of Officer Dittamo. She balances her own grief with consoling her troops, and, yet, she still must be able to carry on amidst terrorist alerts, special events planned in the city, the high profile trial of Chandra Levy, and other pressing matters that confront her in the fast paced nation’s Capitol.
Many share the pain that the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia is now dealing with. Deepest sympathy is extended to Chief Lanier and her entire department as well as the family of Officer Dittamo. Genuine concern and well wishes are extended for Officer Dittamo’s partner. Rest in peace, Officer Dittamo.
*** Karen L. Bune is employed as a Victim Specialist in the domestic violence unit of the State’s Attorney’s Office for Prince George’s County, Maryland. She serves as an adjunct professor in the Department of Criminal Justice at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia and Marymount University in Arlington, Virginia, where she teaches victimology. Ms. Bune is a consultant for the Training and Technical Assistance Center for the Office for Victims of Crime and the Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, U. S. Department of Justice. She is a nationally recognized speaker and trainer on victim issues. Ms. Bune is Board Certified in Traumatic Stress and Domestic Violence, and she is a Fellow of The Academy of Experts in Traumatic Stress and the National Center for Crisis Management. She is a 2009 inductee in the Wakefield High School (Arlington, Va.) Hall of Fame. She received the “Chief’s Award 2009” from the Prince George’s County Maryland Police Chief. Ms. Bune appears in the 2010 edition of Marquis' Who’s Who in the World, and Marquis' Who’s Who of American Women.