Memorial to Paul Dittamo


End of Watch: October 30, 2010
Rank:
Officer  Badge No. 4484
Age:
32    Years of Service: 1
Location of Death:
2400 block of Martin Luther King Ave., SE
Duty Assignment: Seventh District

 

Circumstance:

Officer Paul Dittamo was killed in an automobile accident while responding to assist an
officer who was struggling with a suspect high on PCP.

At approximately 1:00 am, Officer Dittamo and his partner were responding to the
incident on Morris Road, SE. Their vehicle was traveling northeast on Martin Luther
King Jr. Avenue, SE when he swerved to avoid a vehicle that failed to yield right of way.

Their patrol collided with a utility pole in the 2200 block of MLK Avenue. Officer
Dittamo was killed in the collision and his partner sustained non-life threatening
injuries.

 

Biography

Officer Dittamo, age 32, had been a member of the Department since June
2009. He was assigned to the Seventh District. He is survived by his wife, Shana
Dittamo; parents, Hector and Theresa Dittamo; and seven sisters and brothers.

 

Articles from the Washington Post – transcribed by Dave Richardson, MPD/Ret.

THE DEATH OF PAUL M. DITTAMO ON OCTOBER 30, 2010
WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED OCTOBER 30, 2010, PAGE C1
D.C. POLICE OFFICER KILLED IN TRAFFIC ACCIDENT
A D.C. police officer who died after a car crash Saturday morning “loved” the job, which
he had done for almost a year and a half, his sister said Saturday.

Officer Paul Dittamo, 32, was responding to a call when the car he was driving crashed
into a utility pole about 1:30 a.m., and he was pronounced dead at a hospital a half-hour
later, police said.

Dittamo is the first D.C. police officer to die in the line of duty since 2007.

Another officer, a passenger in the car, suffered injuries that are not considered life-
threatening, authorities said. He was undergoing medical treatment, police
spokeswoman Gwendolyn Crump said in a statement. She did not release his name.
The car crashed in the 2200 block of Martin Luther King Jr. Avenue SE as the officers
were traveling to the 1400 block of Morris Road SE. The crash remains under
investigation, Crump said.

A police source said the officers were on their way to help evaluate somebody thought to
be on PCP.

Dittamo opened and ran a pizza parlor franchise in Woodbridge before he started
training to become a police officer.

“He loved it, which is why this is so terrible,” Christy Bossard, Dittamo’s older sister,
said of police work. “He was always looking for, ‘What job do I want to do?’ “
But this one, Bossard said, he planned to keep.

“It didn’t last very long,” she said.

Dittamo’s family gathered Saturday at the red-brick home in Woodbridge where he grew
up as the second-youngest of eight siblings, all of whom live in the Washington area,
Bossard said. Dittamo lived with his wife a 15-minute drive away.

“He was the life of the party,” Bossard said. “That’s why he got into policing, and he
always wanted to help people.”

During the record snowfalls last winter, she said, Dittamo was the one who took all his
nieces and nephews sledding.

Dittamo joined the D.C. police force in June 2009, and he worked in the 7th Police
District, in the southernmost part of the city. His sister said he enjoyed talking shop
with a brother-in-law who is a police officer in Prince William County.

Neighbors on Dittamo’s Woodbridge Street were shocked to hear the news.

“They were really nice people,” Nicky Barnes, who lives next door, said of Dittamo and
his wife. “He was always talking to my son when my son is out riding his bike.”

Barnes said Dittamo had talked about becoming a police officer in the District. “I know
that was something he was pretty excited about,” she said.

******************************************************************************
WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED NOVEMBER 2, 2010, PAGE B6
PAUL MICHAEL DITTAMO (Age 32)
Of Woodbridge, VA, an officer of the District of Columbia Metropolitan Police
Department, died in the line of duty on Saturday, October 30, 2010.

Born on August 25, 1978 at Ft. Belvoir, VA., Paul was the son of Hector and Theresa
Dittamo of Lake Ridge who survive. He graduated in 1997 from Woodbridge Senior
High School and received an Associate Degree in Culinary Art from Stratford University.
In 2005 Paul and his family opened Fox’s Pizza Den in the Glen Shopping Center in
Lake Ridge.

After 16 years in the restaurant industry, working in various restaurants in the
Woodbridge, Springfield and Fredericksburg areas, and through the influence of his
brother-in-law Prince William Police Sergeant Matt Mihalovich, Paul joined the DC
Metropolitan Police. He chose the DCMP because that is where he thought he could do
the most good and serve the people best. Had his life not been cut short, Paul would
undoubtedly have cooked up some fine meals for his fellow officers.

In addition to his parents, Paul is survived by his wife Shana Condie Dittamo and by
their unborn first child. Also surviving are his siblings Christy (Eric) Bossard, Angie (Ed)
Lowther, Becky (Matt) Mihalovich, Jennifer (Carl) Blevins, Andrew (Courtney) Dittamo,
Peter Dittamo, and Elizabeth Dittamo; and by 21 nieces and nephews.

The family will receive friends on Wednesday, November 3 from 2 to 4 and 6 to 9 p.m. at
Miller Funeral Home, 3200 Golansky Blvd, Woodbridge, Va. A funeral Mass will be
celebrated at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, 12805 Valleywood Drive, Lake
Ridge, Va. at 11 a.m. on Thursday, November 4, 2010, with Rev. Daniel Hamilton as the
celebrant. Following a police honor procession to Paul’s duty station in the District,
interment with full honors will be at Sacred Heart Church Cemetery, 6430 Token Forest
Drive, Manassas, VA at approximately 3 p.m. Honorary pall bearers will be Paul’s seven
siblings, Nate Condie, Toby Dakon, and Prince William Police Sergeant Matt
Mihalovich. All Dittamo/Condie family and friends are cordially invited to join in the
police procession and to the interment ceremony. A reception will follow at about 4 p.m.
for police officers from all jurisdictions, and Dittamo/Condie family and friends at the
St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Parish Hall.

In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Paul Dittamo Memorial Fund, 4196
Merchant Plaza, #631, Lake Ridge, VA 22192 for the support and education of Paul’s
and Shana’s expected baby.

******************************************************************************

WASHINGTON POST ARTICLE DATED NOVEMBER 5, 2010, PAGE B1D.C.
OFFICER’S TIME ON FORCE RECALLED AS BRIEF BUT PROFOUND
Scores of police officers from across the Washington region stood saluting in rain-
drenched uniforms Thursday as drums and bagpipes sounded and the flag-draped coffin
of D.C. Officer Paul M. Dittamo was carried from a church in Prince William County.

Then came the funeral procession on the raw, gray afternoon. Dozens of police cars and
motorcycles escorted the hearse 20 miles north, rolling ceremoniously past the D.C.
police station where Dittamo worked, before returning to Prince William, where the first
D.C. officer to die in the line of duty since 2007 was buried. Dittamo, 32, a culinary
school graduate who ran a pizza restaurant before joining the police force 16 months
ago, was killed early Saturday when the patrol car he was driving slammed into a utility
pole in Southeast Washington while he and his partner were responding to an
emergency call, the department said.

On Thursday, hundreds of mourners filed into St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church in Lake Ridge, the officer’s family filling the front pews. “My brother was not a saint, but he did have a smile and a chuckle that could light up a room,” one of his five sisters, Christy Bossard, said in her eulogy. “The only thing bigger than his smile was his heart.” Looking at her family, she said, “And his heart takes me to his wife, Shana, who was the love of his life.” Dittamo, a 1997 graduate of Woodbridge Senior High School, was older than most when he entered the police academy in 2008. After studying culinary arts at Stratford University, he worked for years in the restaurant business in the Woodbridge, Springfield and Fredericksburg areas, relatives said, including as managing partner of his family’s Fox’s Pizza Den in Lake Ridge. A brother-in-law, Prince William police Sgt. Matt Mihalovich, got him interested in law enforcement, his family said. He joined the D.C. force “because that is where he thought he could do the most good and serve the people best.”

“Paul did not need this job,” D.C. Police Chief Cathy L. Lanier told the mourners in a halting voice. “The job needed him. And for that, we’re grateful.” Dittamo was assigned to the department’s most dangerous precinct, the 7th District, or 7D, covering far Southeast.

About 1 a.m. Saturday, Lanier said, Dittamo and his partner were rushing to help other
officers who needed backup as they struggled to subdue a suspect who was under the
influence of the violence-inducing hallucinogen PCP. “Every officer knows, when it’s
PCP, you hurry,” Lanier said after the funeral. The marked car went out of control and
hit a utility pole in the 1400 block of Morris Road SE, police said. They said Dittamo’s
partner received relatively minor injuries.

The cause of the accident was under investigation. In her eulogy, Lanier recalled the hours afterward. “On the long ride to the hospital, I thought to myself: ‘What do I say to his wife? What do I say to his mom, his dad? . . . What words do I have to offer comfort to a family in circumstances like this?’

“She said softly, “Unfortunately, I didn’t come up with any.” Police Cmdr. Joel R.
Maupin, the top officer in 7D, said at the church, “While Paul was only with us for a
short time, boy, did he make an impression.” He said that at the hospital after the crash,
“one of the supervisors said, ‘the police academy and the recruiting branch really got it
right this time.’ Paul was a great police officer.” “I observed for myself how much he
meant to his co-workers, how much they respected him,” Maupin said. “The roll-call room was set up as a shrine to Paul this week. As we spoke of Paul, there was barely a
dry eye in the room. “Bossard followed Maupin to the alter.” About a week before my
brother was killed, Shana told him the great news that he was going to be a dad,” she
said, as Dittamo’s pregnant widow looked on. The rest of his family “never got to see the
joy on his face of knowing this news. But we all know how big his smile must have been
when she told him.”