Dan Niedhammer’s Experience in Policing and Why He Has Passion to Speak About Police Issues
I enlisted in the United States Army and served from 1979-1982 as a Military Policeman. Serving in S. Korea, Ft, Dix, NJ and other temporary deployments.
My career started with the Richmond City Police Department in August 1985. My entire career was in Patrol, I was assigned a Beat Car and for a period of time drove the Paddy Wagon.
My first night on patrol after field training I was dispatched to a man lying in the middle of the street. Upon arrival I thought the man was asleep or passed out. After nudging the person and receiving no response I turned the body over only to discover the person had been shot in the chest and was dead.
Throughout my career I have responded to every aspect of policing from traffic accidents, sexual assaults, armed robbery, domestic’s, assault’s, homicides, and suicide’s.
While driving the Paddy Wagon, I was responsible for transporting arrested suspects of other officers. I also served Civil Mental Detention Order’s and transported mentally ill people who were residing in half-way houses that needed to be admitted to a mental facility.
In 1991 I saw a need to provide protections for Police Officers working for the Richmond Police Department. While seeing the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) as an ineffective support group for working Police Officers, since the FOP was run mainly by the Command Staff of the Police Department.
After an exhaustive search I learned of the Virginia Coalition of Police & Deputy Sherriff’s (VCOPS) an affiliate of the International Union of Police Association’s (IUPA).
I was also the Legislative Director of VCOPS and lobbied the Virginia General Assembly and throughout the Commonwealth to promote pro-police legislation.
In March of 1994 while working off-duty in a Section 8 housing project with another Richmond Police Officer, my partner and I were shot while investigating a suspected drug dealer.
In August of 1995 I retired from the Richmond Police Department. I’ve seen a lot of change in policing over the years, some good and some not so good. The recent years have been very challenging for police officers for a multitude of different reasons.
It is important for me to stay involved because I know the personal effects policing has on the men and women in law enforcement. I am motivated by my sheer will to serve not only the men and women in Blue but the community as well.
I’m glad to be doing that here as an advisory committee member with National Police Support Fund.