The NYPD celebrated the graduation Friday of a new class of police officers that look to reinvigorate “New York’s Finest” with a legion of multicultural recruits.
NYPD Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey arrived backstage at Madison Square Garden on Dec. 30 excited to share in the festivities for the first time as the highest-ranking uniformed police officer. The graduation ceremony welcomed 477 new police officers making up a rich mosaic of races and ethnicities from equally diverse backgrounds.
In recent years, the NYPD has promoted females and members of the Black and Brown community to the forefront of leadership roles, most notably with Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell and Chief Maddrey himself.
Minutes before the new recruits lined-up within the Hulu Theater, Maddrey told amNewYork Metro that this is an aspect of both the NYPD and the December graduation that he is extremely proud of.
“We have a department that reflects the city, and we want to be examples to people and show that hey, you as an African American male can still be true to who you are as a Black man or Black woman, but still be a part of the best police department in the world, be in a leadership role and do great things for your community as well as every community,” Maddrey said.
Maddrey also touched upon the news that the department has seen bulk retirements as of late. According to Maddrey, there was a large boom in recruitment following the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center and now over 20 years later, after performing their service, the old guard is being bolstered by hundreds of new recruits graduating over the year. Maddrey also stated that the service is also seeing new legacy recruits who are related to officers that have come before them.
“A lot of times I’ve worked with the family members, and they come to me and say, my sons or my daughters are in the academy now, so I’ll be taking a few pictures,” Maddrey said with a smile.
Among the 477 recruits, a whopping 76 countries were represented, including those hailing from the likes of Bangladesh, the Dominican Republic, Haiti, Pakistan, and more. Additionally, 25 different languages are spoken among the new offices with 39 of the almost 500 having served in the armed forces, two were former United Arab Emirates police officers, nine school safety agents, and nine had also been cadets.
Captain Glorisel Lee spearheads the recruitment process and told amNewYork Metro that there are streamlined procedures for the likes of cadets and school safety agents to enter the police academy. However, those aged 17-34 with at least 60 college credits with a 2.0 GPA or two active military years can take the test to become an officer. If an individual wants to be a part of the NYPD but does not have enough college credits or military experience, they can also apply to be a school safety agent, traffic enforcement agent, 911 operator, police communications technician, or other civilian titles.
According to Lee, after three years on patrol all officers are eligible to take a promotional exam, allowing them to become sergeants or enter the Mounted or K9 Units, or sketch artist as well as further their education to function as both a police officer and nurse, paramedic, or lawyer. Lee stressed that there are other opportunities aside from being a police officer in the department. The NYPD also provides scholarship opportunities.
“You see them [the graduates] in the police academy and it’s, like your children, you know, like just there’s a sense of pride and seeing them grow from the time they came in and took the test to them graduating here,” Lee shared.
Family and friends of the new recruits gathered outside of Madison Square Garden following the ceremony where they embraced in a whirlwind of joyous tears.
All 477 officers will be deployed for the New Year’s Eve celebration in Times Square on Dec. 31.