Police Commissioner Dermot Shea welcomed 433 new Police Officers into the NYPD, the first graduating class of his tenure, and the last of the decade, on Dec. 27.
Recalling his own graduation, Commissioner Shea said it was only after he stepped out from that 1991 ceremony that he began to understand what it meant to be a cop.
‘Continue to Learn’
“I’ll tell you right now as I stand here before you, I had a lot to learn. In fact, I continue to learn to this day, and I think that’s something that you too should never forget. Continue to learn. Continue to grow as an individual,” he said at the Beacon Theatre ceremony.
Alluding to the city’s continuing drop in the crime rate, Mayor de Blasio endorsed the department’s philosophy of neighborhood policing and told the new officers they would help define it.
“You deserve the opportunity to build those direct human relationships with the people you serve,” he said, adding, “and you are going to be those powerful agents of progress and change as we continue to deepen neighborhood policing.”
He said that “no class has ever been better prepared to take on this crucial work than those that you see before you today.”
The new recruits come from 21 different countries and speak 34 languages, among them Polish, Mandarin, Cantonese, Spanish, Ghanaian, Fulani, French, Russian, Bengali and American Sign Language. More than two dozen had already donned uniforms of the nation’s armed forces.
A Cautionary Note
Commissioner Shea also cautioned that the world the graduates knew before they stepped into the venue would be forever changed. “Your identity has changed. Now, why? Because now you’re an NYPD cop,” he said. “It’s a tremendous responsibility. It’s not always going to be easy. Police work is and probably always will be, extremely difficult. There will be some bad days and in fact there’s many, but I can tell you, however, the great days far outnumber the bad ones. And I can promise you that no other line of work will reward you like this one.”
Except in one respect: That “The Job,” as it’s known among members of the service, entails missing family festivities and special occasions, including, he said, the annual baptism for end-of-the-year recruits—New Year’s Eve.
“Thank you for joining us on this mission,” Commissioner Shea said. “I can’t wait to see everything we’re going to do together.”
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