August 27, 2007

Pioneering police psychologist (and In the News subscriber) retiring

From the Modesto (Calif.) Bee:
In the mid-1970s, Phil Trompetter decided he needed a better understanding of what the police officers he knew experienced every day in the field.

At the time, Trompetter was a clinical psychologist for Stanislaus County's mental health department. The laws had changed. The center could take in only those deemed a danger to themselves or the public. The rules created a tension between the mental health staff and the cops because some people clearly in need of help could not be held for treatment. They were back out on the streets, where the police were left to deal with them.

"The relationship between law enforcement and mental health was horrible," he said. "So I decided to start riding patrol with our (sheriff's) deputies, to listen to their stories, and explaining to them what's happening."

That was the beginning of his 30-year career as the shrink to law enforcement officers in Stanislaus County, a ride that made him a key player in every major critical incident here during that time, including the shooting death of an 11-year-old during a law enforcement raid and the Peterson case.

It's a ride that is coming to an end because he sold the police psychology part of his practice and is retiring, or at least semiretiring.

Trompetter, 63, will maintain the forensic psychology element of his downtown Modesto practice, continuing to evaluate defendants and suspects while serving as an expert witness in the courts.
The rest of the interesting story of Dr. Trompetter’s career is online at the Modesto Bee.