Chris Panetta retired from the NYPD in April of 2021 as a Second Grade Detective. Over his 21+ years of service, he worked in multiple assignments throughout NYC including Borough Crime and the Organized Crime Control Bureau where he worked in Vice and Narcotics. After suffering a tragic and devastating loss in 2019, Chris joined the NYPD’s Peer Support Program and was also certified in Mental Health First Aid. Not realizing it initially and what it would lead to, he quickly learned that accepting this role would be the most important assignment of his career.
Growing up with an inherent drive and resilience instilled by his parents, Chris had the motivation and desire to further his educational prowess. While working for the Department early in his career and having to postpone his education twice due to attending the Police Academy and then the tragic events of 9/11, he obtained his B.S. in Business Management. Later, he decided he wasn’t quite finished and obtained his M.S. in Criminal Justice.
When Chris and his wife, Michelle, suffered the loss of his childhood friend and co-worker on January 25th, 2019, only three weeks after their wedding where his friend attended, he wondered why… why this happened and could he have done anything differently. Then the unimaginable happened later in the year when ten more brothers and sisters in blue also died by suicide. Chris and Michelle had seen enough. They took action and co-founded Beyond the Badge NY and had an event to raise awareness not knowing what would happen next. The event was successful but not because they raised money, but rather because they took the first step to bring a dire situation to the forefront of the conversation. Three years ago, Chris and Michelle just wanted to tell those struggling a few things:
1. It is not how one died, but rather how they lived.
2. It’s okay to not be okay.
But most importantly….
3. In this family, no one fights alone!
In the beginning Chris said “I don’t care if anyone remembers my name. I only care that our organization goes on long after I’m gone.” It seems to be well on its way!