Beyond The Badge NY is a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization that was created by two local law enforcement officers, to raise suicide and mental health awareness, as they felt the need to address the growing mental health crisis that the first responder community is currently facing.
Founders, Michelle—a retired Nassau County Probation Officer—and Chris—a retired NYPD Detective—know the pain of losing a loved one to suicide all too well. In 2019, Chris’ childhood friend and fellow NYPD Police Officer Nicholas Mencaroni of the 115 and 106 Pct. died by suicide. They knew they did not want to lose any more brothers and sisters in blue, nor did they want any family to feel the pain they were feeling.
Enlisting the help of other fellow officers, friends, and family, they set out on their mission to BREAK THE STIGMA.
As first responders you are a part of the largest family there is, and they wanted officers to know IT’S OKAY TO NOT BE OKAY.
Our services and support are for those individuals who serve as first responders (Law Enforcement officers on the federal, state and local levels, Firefighters and volunteer fire, EMS including EMTs and Police Medics, Corrections, Sheriff’s, Deputies, Court officers, Probation/Parole officers and 911 operators and dispatchers).
• To reduce the growing epidemic of first responder suicides by breaking the stigma surrounding first responders coming forward for mental health treatment. We want to spotlight a positive image for those who see strength in coming forward and seeking the help they need and deserve.
• Additionally, to provide support and resources for the families whose first responder died by suicide.
• The statistics are rising at alarming rates for first responders who die by suicide due to PTSD, substance abuse, anxiety, and depression, which are often caused by day-to-day stress and trauma from the job. We want to spotlight a positive image for those who see strength in seeking the help they deserve.
Board of Directors
President & Co-Founder
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!
Vice President & Co-Founder
Michelle Panetta is a Senior Anti-Money Laundering/Financial Crimes Investigator, where she investigates individuals who launder money for the purpose of drug and human trafficking, terrorism, white collar crimes and local street crimes. Before this, Michelle was a Nassau County Probation Officer. She spent the first three and a half years of her career in the DWI Unit and assisted with Electronic Monitoring. She also spent time assisting with the Opioid Overdose programs as well as assisted numerous individuals in obtaining their GED’s. After suffering a Line of Duty incident, Michelle began working in the Restitution Unit. She retired in 2021 after five years of service to the residents of Nassau County.
Additionally, Michelle became an adjunct professor in 2017 at Nassau Community College where she currently teaches criminal justice. She also holds a B.S. and M.S. in Criminal Justice from Long Island University.
In 2019, Michelle and her husband Chris suffered a devastating loss when Chris’ co-worker and childhood friend died by suicide. Later that year, Michelle and Chris co-founded Beyond the Badge NY because they were distraught and angry about losing their fellow brothers and sisters in blue to suicide and felt something had to be done. Additionally, after her LODI she began having her own struggles with anxiety and PTSD and felt she could make an impact with others. She made a decision to let others know… “In this family, no one fights alone!”
Michael Farina has been an active member of the New York City Police Department since 2002 and is currently assigned to the Quartermaster Section. He has had numerous assignments throughout his 20+ year career including five years in the Equipment Section. While assigned there, he was tasked with several assignments including inventory reconciliation, vendor inspections, assisting with fiscal accountability and distribution of firearms. He was an indispensable piece of this unit and ensured that the section ran effortlessly.
Michael expressed a desire to join Beyond the Badge NY when a close friend of his died by suicide. He also was distraught by how the suicide epidemic in law enforcement was not being addressed and felt that there was so much that could be done for his brothers and sisters in blue, especially since he was raised in a blue family. The combination of his drive to smash the stigma and his fiscal experience from past Department assignments make him a valuable addition to the Beyond the Badge NY team!
Siobhan Murphy is an active Sergeant with the New York City Police Department. She began her career in July 1999 and was promoted to the rank of Sergeant in October 2007. In December of 2019 she transferred to the newly formed Health and Wellness Section where she currently assists active and retired Members of Service.
In February 2020, Siobhan was certified as a member of the Peer Support Program and realized she was in the right place at this point in her career. Her desire to further equip her blue family with alternatives and resources led her to be certified as a Mental Health First Aid instructor.
Her role in the Health and Wellness Section gives her the opportunity to speak to fellow officers and provide them with peer support and additional resources. She has also made the pledge to break the stigma of officers coming forward that are in need of assistance.
In her words:
“Asking for help should not be looked at as a sign of weakness but as a sign of great strength; because at some point throughout our careers of service, we’ve all needed that helpful hand at our back to either help push us forward or to catch us as we’re falling. We can’t always do it alone.”
Director of Fundraising/Marketing
Mary Marrazzo is currently an insurance agent with State Farm Insurance and licensed in personal, commercial, life and health insurance. She handles sales consulting for commercial lines, policy writing, and is the office claims audit liaison. She is also in the Agent Aspirin program that develops talented, and initiative driven people to one day own their own State Farm agency. In addition to her primary career, Mary also owns two businesses. She founded Touch of Beauty as she is a licensed esthetician and started Calming Knots, a home décor venture.
Mary is no stranger to the non-for-profit world. She volunteers for the Multiple Sclerosis (MS) Foundation – Long Island Chapter for New York on the Runway Gala for MS Committee for the past five years where she handles fundraising and event logistics for the gala, as well as participating as a model in the gala itself. She is also the Treasurer for the Kortright Kares Foundation since its inception in early 2022 where she is tasked with event logistics and fundraising.
Mary’s introduction to Beyond the Badge NY came when she started volunteering at events and seminars but quickly realized that she wanted to serve a more substantial purpose. She felt that she wanted to be more impactful for the first responders and families that Beyond the Badge supports and thought what better way to do that than to be influential with the funding and networking that ultimately benefits those who serve. Mary’s non-for-profit background makes her the perfect fit for this undertaking.
Director of Event and Initiative Logistics
Barbara Kartalis is currently a Marketing Liaison for a network of physical medicine, rehabilitation and orthopedic facilities within New York and New Jersey. She handles anything and everything from event coordinating to marketing, to scheduling and administrative functions. Outside of her marketing career, Barbara is a motivated entrepreneur as she launched her own niche business called The Boozy Cupcake Shop that takes up much of her free time!
In the little down time Barbara has, she coordinates multiple church events and has participated with a number of non-for-profit organizations where she has been tasked with event planning and logistics as well as the successful execution of said events. She has also been heavily involved in the fundraising and marketing aspects of the charities she has been involved with.
Barbara first learned about Beyond the Badge NY at a charity event and became very intrigued. She wanted to contribute in some way, so she started donating favors to multiple events but realized that she wanted to be more involved and have more of an impact for our first responders. She then saw the opportunity to use her logistical skills and experience to benefit those who serve the rest of us. Barbara’s logistical and planning abilities make her the “logical” choice for this role with Beyond the Badge!
Director of Multimedia
Justin Thompson is an active NYPD Police Officer with five plus years of service, currently serving the 106 Precinct as their Domestic Violence officer. He grew up watching his father respond to calls for service as a volunteer fire chief which gave him and his siblings the drive and motivation to pursue fulfilling careers in law enforcement. Prior to being assigned to the Domestic Violence unit, Justin was a patrol officer answering 911 calls for the Howard Beach and Ozone Park communities.
Justin made the decision to join Beyond the Badge after suffering the loss of his close friend and partner to suicide. After the loss, he spent weeks and months contemplating what he could have done differently to have prevented this tragedy, and ultimately came to the decision that suicide is preventable and that he wanted to do anything he can to keep others from feeling the way he did and going through the trials and tribulations he experienced.
As a member of Beyond the Badge, Justin hopes to utilize his experiences to ensure that others do not have to endure the feelings of loss associated with suicide like he has. Justin said it best – “Not every 10-13 comes over the radio. I want to be there to respond to that call for others in need.”
Executive Advisors to the Board of Directors
Tom Purpi has been practicing law in the state and federal courts of New York since 2010. His top-rated firm handles a wide variety of legal matters from general civil and commercial litigation to corporate, real estate, employment, and matrimonial law. As a native New Yorker, he is a graduate of New York University and the Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law.
Tom is currently outside counsel to Beyond the Badge, Inc. His commitment to Beyond the Badge’s mission is inspired by his appreciation of the heroism and sacrifice of his family and friends in law enforcement, and of all those in the first responder community. He has, as too many others have also, been personally affected by the tragedy of loss due to mental illness. Tom plays an intricate part of bringing Beyond the Badge’s mission to new chapters across the country in hopes of once and for all smashing the stigma of mental illness and protecting those who serve and protect us.
Craig L. Petrella CPA, MBA is a Certified Public Accountant with over 22 years of experience. His experience has included working in the Big 4 Accounting firms specializing in financial internal controls for Defense Contractors as well as Fortune1000 companies. Craig has been featured on NBC and News 12 Long Island as a financial contributor. He was also highlighted in Newsday, a metropolitan area newspaper.
Over the years, Craig successfully managed office operations, personnel, and budgets. He has had the opportunity to oversee strategic projects that often involved cross-functional resources. Internationally, he directed global accounting and finance operations for entities and has overseen the accounting for numerous entities and liaised with outside auditors, law firms, and other tax firms.
Craig’s experience has afforded him the chance to work with the SEC while preparing and reviewing required financials, footnotes, management’s discussion and analysis(MD&A) and other information for 10-Q, 8-K, and 10-K filings with SEC. He over saw and reviewed monthly, quarterly, and yearly financial consolidation and financial close processes for billion-dollar companies in order to conform with GAAP (Generally Accepted Accounting Principles) as well as GASB (Government Accounting Standards Board).
Currently, Craig Petrella is the sole owner of the accounting firm, Petrella CPA – Accountants & Advisors, located on Long Island, New York and is currently servicing 800 clients.
Craig has had close personal ties to law enforcement his entire life. His father is retired from the NYPD and his brother is currently a Police Officer in the Nassau County Police Department. So, Craig’s decision to join the Beyond the Badge team to help further the mission of raising suicide and mental health awareness was an easy one, as he recognizes the need in breaking the stigma of cops coming forward and getting the help they need and deserve!
Chris Kelly is a non-profit leader with over seven years of experience in securing major gifts, event sponsorships, private and public grants and corporate and individual donations. He has leadership experience in planning, budgeting, and executing comprehensive development plans as well as non-profit experience in the education, substance use and mental health, and overall human services spaces.
Chris holds a M.S. in Government and Politics, with a focus in International Relations and a minor in Public Administration, from St. John’s University’s Rome, Italy, campus. His B.S. is in Business Management from St. John’s, as well. He also received an Executive Education Certification from Fordham University’s Center for Nonprofit Leaders.
As a native Long Islander, Chris has a passion for community service and making the world a better place, one step at a time. His devotion and commitment to supporting the men and women who risk their lives to protect us is second to none, as exhibited in his exceptional work and professionalism.
Philip Weisbord officially joined the Beyond the Badge family in June 2022 and serves as an advisor to the organization. In this role, Philip provides his experience in the nonprofit and private sectors, as well as his background in logistics and operations to help shape the future of Beyond the Badge.
Philip has worked in and with numerous companies in the marketing space before joining the NYPD where he currently works in the Detective Bureau. He has been involved with multiple non-profits in different capacities and is on the board of directors for the largest Jewish law enforcement fraternal organization in the United States. Philip holds a master’s degree from John Jay College in Emergency Management and a bachelor’s degree from the University of Buffalo in Communications.
Amanda Mullaney is the widow of NYPD Deputy Inspector Denis Mullaney who died by suicide on April 5th, 2021. Denis was born and raised in Queens, NY. He proudly served twenty years with the NYPD. His passion and desire to serve his community was evident from the moment he graduated from the police academy. His rapid rise through the ranks from his first assignment as a Police Officer in the 114 Precinct to his promotion to Deputy Inspector as the Commanding Officer of the 107 Precinct were a true testament to his dedication which Amanda now strives to continue through her advocacy for mental health awareness and wellness for her blue family.
Amanda is a retired NYPD Police Officer. She was raised in a “Blue Family” and knew growing up that her life was destined for a career in law enforcement. So, it was no surprise that for as long as she could remember, she wanted to serve and protect the communities in NYC. She started her career in Queens Transit and later transferred to the Transit Anti-Terrorism Unit. Amanda ultimately finished her career in the coveted Transit K-9 Unit.
Amanda met Denis in 2008, and in 2014 they were married. Two years later, they were blessed with an amazing little boy, Denis Mullaney III (D3). After Denis’ passing, Amanda realized that she wanted to be a voice for those who may be suffering in the dark. She wants the surviving families who have lost someone to suicide that they are never alone, thus being a perfect fit as a family ambassador for Beyond the Badge NY!
Kristen Clifford is the widow of NCPD Police Officer Steven Clifford who died by suicide on May 23rd, 2017, at 35 years of age. She was also raised in a law enforcement family, as her father is a retired NCPD Detective, and her cousin is currently a NCPD Police Officer. She has been a strong supporter of law enforcement through her entire life, and she has always been an advocate for mental health awareness and wellness.
The LEO suicide widows and families that Kristen has connected with after Steve’s passing are people she shares a special bond with that has been indescribable and invaluable. Kristen has found that sharing her story and walking alongside people in their darkest times not only helps them heal but has been the best therapy to get through her own grief and overcome her battle with depression, anxiety, and PTSD. She is also a Certified QPR Gatekeeper for Suicide Prevention.
Steve began his career in the NYPD in 2005 and then was hired by NCPD in 2008, so it comes as no surprise that Steven’s greatest passion in life was helping others. Kristen hopes to carry on his legacy by continuing to help others, especially first responders, grieving widows and survivors of suicide loss.