“When I was a little kid, I loved police officers. I could spot a police car a mile away. I think it started when I was seven or eight years old and a police car came into our neighborhood, which never happened, to go to someone’s house to talk to them about something. And he was really nice to us—all of my friends. Who knows if that set a journey for me in the back of my mind that police work—such a noble profession—is really important to society, but I always had a love of police officers.”
– Michael Shochet, Senior Cantor of Temple Rodef Shalom, Falls Church, Virginia; Chief Chaplain of Fairfax County, Virginia Police
Few can tell a personal career story as dramatic and ever-changing as Mike Shochet. As an ambitious high school student from an affluent Baltimore suburb, Shochet became “enthralled” with television production and news reporting. And soon after college graduation, he became a reporter for Baltimore’s NBC affiliate, WMAR-TV.
But the excitement of on-air reporting turned to agitation. Shochet wanted to help people through his work, but he felt that the “if it bleeds it leads” stories that his bosses wanted him to report wasn’t the way. So, at age 23, Shochet became a Baltimore City cop.
And that is only half of his story.
In this first part of a two-part episode, Shochet:
- Describes his early fascination with television production and reporting news [starts at 2:49]
- Recalls the on-the-air story he was assigned to report that upended his career [starts at 17:11]
- Relives his pivot to from reporter to Baltimore City Policeman [starts at 21:19]
About our guest: Michael Shochet received a Bachelor of Science from Ithaca College’s Park School of Communications and a Masters in Sacred Music from Hebrew Union College. He is the Senior Cantor for Temple Rodef Shalom in Falls Church, Virginia and Chief Chaplain of the Fairfax County, Virginia Police Department. Shochet and his family live in Fairfax County, Virginia.
EPISODE DATE: October 12, 2018
Temple Rodef Shalom – Profile
Photo credits: Evening Crime Scene, Getty Images; Chaplain Michael Shochet in Ride Along, Michael Ventura.