Richmond Hill Hero Remembered — Group Hails Hero Making A Difference

By Observer Staff


On Thursday, Sept. 22, an organization that helps law enforcement officers, honored a few exceptional individuals instrumental to their cause. 

The mission of ‘Peer to Peer’ Post Tour Processing is a bit different than so many others that work on behalf of law enforcement. Their unique mission is centered around finding a safe place for support for officers, sharing experiences on their daily tour on a confidential virtual ‘zoom-like’ platform that helps police officers to process unusual experiences of the day. 

“We all should understand the trauma police officers go through on their job each day,” said TTM PTP president and founder Dr. Robyn Cannariato. “That daily exposure accumulates over time. Talking about it and sharing it with others in a peer-to-peer bubble is changing lives, and we’re glad to help.”

Cannariato herself is a retired police officer. She and her team are passionate about changing this terrible trend of officers who die by their own hands following incidents involving enforcement action.

This night the group honored a number of individuals at Russo’s on The Bay in Howard Beach. 

Leanne Simonsen, wife of Detective Brian Simonsen, a 42-year–old NYPD veteran who was killed in February of 2019 while responding to a robbery at a T-Mobile store on 120th Street in Richmond Hill, spoke at the event. Simonsen talked about her struggle to go on. 

“Without the support of some of the people in this room,” she said, “I don’t know if I’d be here.” There wasn’t a dry eye in the room as Simonsen poured her heart out to the 150 people at the event.

Also honored was a face Queens Chamber members are familiar with: Tommy DiMisa. DiMisa works for Vanguard, an employee benefits consulting firm, with a niche in non-profits. 

“Tommy is a special person,” said Cannariato. “His understanding of mental health and his work with non-profits like ours is exemplary.”

Philip Schoppmann received the Meritorious Service Award. 

A board member of TTM PTP, he is also a trainer in the Suffolk County PD and in doing so he spends most of his time working on the mental health of police officers. 

“Peer support teams are a vital part of a police officer’s mental well being,” he said. “It’s quite important that we not only provide education, but also resources for law enforcement, first responders and their families.”