MAYOR DE BLASIO, POLICE COMMISSIONER SHEA DELIVER REMARKS AT THE NYPD GRADUATION CEREMONY

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MANZOOR HUSSAIN (Fri, Oct 29).

 Sergeant Kevin Heavey, NYPD: It is now my pleasure to introduce the Mayor of the City of New York, the Honorable Bill de Blasio.

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you. Good morning. Good morning. And it is such a pleasure to say this – on behalf of 8.8 million New Yorkers who you are about to serve, I want to say to each and every one of you, congratulations, officers. You did it. You made it.

It was not easy. It took incredible commitment by each and every one of you. It took hard work. It took a relentless belief that you could get to this day. Some of you have been thinking of this day not just for years, but for decades, and you made it. What a tribute to you. There are many, many young men and women, talented men and women who would like to be in those seats right now, but you’re the ones who made it. You were the best of the best. Now, your families, your mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, brothers, sisters, all your loved ones, they were with you every step of the way. They get a lot of the credit for this day as well. So, to all the family members – look around you, give each other a round of applause. Congratulations.

When we gather at Madison Square Garden, we’re at the most famous arena in the world and we’re celebrating the finest police force in the world. And we’re celebrating the next generation. All of you are going to – at this incredibly important moment in the history of this city, you’re going to be difference-makers, because this city has been through much. We’ve been through what I think is probably the biggest crisis in our history, the last few years. We’re coming out of it together, but you are going to be the people who see us through. You’re going to be the guardians that make a difference. And New York City today is better off because 404 of you – 404 new guardians will be out there, protecting our people, making the city better.

I want to thank every one of you for the decision you made. It was a noble decision. I want to offer a special thanks. There’s 46 of you who we all need to give special recognition and thank you too, who are putting on the uniform for a second time. 46 have served our nation in the armed forces. Let’s thank each and every one of them.

Now, this amazing class represents the best of every part of New York City, represents everything that makes New York City great. We are the city in the world that brings together the best of the whole world. This class hails from countries all over the globe, speaks 30 different languages. It’s amazing what you bring to the table and the ability you’re going to have to connect with the people in this city. I want to congratulate all of you. Also, a special, thanks – we have 44 MTA recruits graduating today. Let’s thank them as well.

Now, this class – every class, that’s amazing what brings each and every one of you to this crucial decision. For some of you, it is following in the footsteps of a family tradition – and that’s a beautiful thing, that’s a powerful thing. And our valedictorian today, Police Officer Michael Newman is an example. Get this – as a child at Halloween, what did he dress up as? As a police officer. And he took it upon himself to arrest family members to prove how good he would be at the job. Well, he was right. He is now a police officer. Congratulations, Michael.

And some of you are called for the first time in the family history to this kind of work, because you care about the community. And one great example, Police Officer Vanessa James, for years has been involved in the community, has donated, has walked in the Making Strides of Brooklyn foundation efforts to support survivors of breast cancer. She was out there helping others. And then, literally during her time in the academy – imagine this, after all the years helping others, her own mom was diagnosed with stage three breast cancer while Officer James was in the academy. She kept moving forward, supporting her family, following her dream, continuing be out there, raising money to help others afflicted by this horrible scourge. That’s commitment to the community. Let’s congratulate Officer James.

We’re excited for you. We need you. We thank you. I have to tell you, everyone up here on the dais, the leadership of the NYPD, the leadership of the union, everyone feels the same way – we need you. And it’s our job to always provide the latest in training, the very best training, which you just received, the technology, the support, the things that will make you great, and the things that will keep you safe. We need you and the city is better because of you. God bless each and every one of you. Congratulations.

Sergeant Heavey: Thank you, Mayor de Blasio. It’s now my pleasure to introduce the Police Commissioner of the City of New York, the Honorable Dermot Shea.

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea: Good morning, everyone. And let me be the first to congratulate you. You all look great and it’s great to be here in Madison Square Garden this morning. On behalf of the leadership team assembled on this stage, Mayor de Blasio, and the entire New York City Police Department, welcome to our recruit graduation ceremony. And to all of our newest police offices, all 404 of you, right now you begin what I know is the greatest job in the world. Today is one of those unforgettable moments where you will look back on this day many years from now with your life before today, and now from today-on. Truly, a special time, because, today, now, you are members of New York’s Finest. You are New York City police officers, and you’ve earned it. Six months ago – and I would argue a quick six months, but I have a feeling that you would have a different opinion of that – you went to the Police Academy not quite sure what to expect. But as I stand looking at all of you right now, I promise you something – you are just getting started. This is going to be the beginning of a phenomenally great story. And as excited as we are here to see you today, as the Mayor said, I guarantee there is nearly 9 million New Yorkers that are even more happy to see you. How do I know this? Because I talk to them every single day from one end of New York City to the next. They can’t wait to meet you. They know they need you. And believe me when I tell you this, they do support you. You are the guardians. Think about that.

Now, you heard the Mayor use the same word, and you’ll hear it repeatedly, and there’s a reason why. But there’s also a tremendous honor being bestowed upon you, calling you that term. You will now protectors of people all across New York City. When people have no one else to call, they turned to you. It’s a tremendous honor. Whether that’s consoling a crime victim, maybe it’s reassuring a frantic parent. Trust me, as a parent of three, I know how it feels to turn your eye for a second and you can’t see one of your children. Oh my God, what happened? You’re going to be the person that walks up to that parent and says, it’s okay, we have your child, everything is okay, they’re safe.

People always think about cops and robbers. Look what happened this week at Union Square. Crazy story – person shot on the train, within hours detectives had linked that person to multiple crimes. In less than 24 hours, it was a series of sharp-eyed police officers – Kathy O’Reilly here, from our transit bureau – deployed in the right place, getting the message over their phone and over the radio that he had hit again, immediately taking action, stopping a train in Union Square and walking through train by train car. And when they got to the last car, they found the perpetrator and took him into custody – this is never the headline, but this is what you are going to do every day – took him into custody armed with three guns without firing a shot, keeping New Yorkers safe. Let’s give those two offices a round of applause.

It’s always going to be stories like that. They make TV shows out about it, right? But policing is really about, I would argue much more than that. It’s about the – now here’s the important thing. It’s about the everyday interactions that you’re going to have over the next 20, 30 years. Those are the ones that are actually going to be the ones that you’re remembered for. The person who calls 9-1-1, maybe once in their life. Maybe once in 10 years, they call 9-1-1 again, because they have no one else to turn to. You’re going to be the person that responds to that call. Maybe it’s a traffic accident on the Bruckner Expressway. Maybe it’s some minor job. Maybe it’s a blocked driveway job. Maybe not the job that we think of as the most serious day to day in our world, a block driveway. Stop, flip it around. You’re the person that owns the house or rents an apartment that has to get their kid to school or bring that mother to the doctor. And now you go out and your driveway is blocked. Think about it from their perspective. What are you going to do when you respond to that job? It’s the most important job in the world for that person. That’s what policing is about. And how you act on those everyday interactions over and over is how you’re going to be remembered. Not just how you’re remembered. Because you’re now part of something much bigger than yourself. How the NYPD is remembered.

Maybe it’s kind words of advice as you are just walking your post next week. Think about that. Are you nervous? Next week when kids are walking to school and you just say hello to that child and the mother or father walking the kid to school, that’s how you’re going to be remembered too. Never for a second, underestimate the impact that you have on other people’s lives for those everyday interactions. Your simple presence on a dark street. Maybe you’re going to be in Brooklyn, underneath the train station. As the train pulls into the station, you see the people walking down the stairs, maybe they’re coming home from work. Maybe they’re coming home from work and then they’re going to get their college degree and they are tired. And the first thing they see as their feet hit the sidewalk is a New York City cop. Think about how that makes them feel. It should make you proud. Take care of those people. That’s the impact that you’re going to have on people’s lives.

I got to bring up this one, be patient with the tourists. The Mayor likes the fact that the tourists are coming back. We all do. Be patient with the tourists and the questions. You have heard on your post 15 times in the last 15 minutes as you stand on 34th Street, right outside here, where’s Madison Square Garden? Be patient with them. They don’t know. You’ll be remembered for that too. Hold the snipe comments. I may have made a few snide comments in my earlier years, but I’ve learned a little bit.

You’re going to do amazing things. And once you’re out on patrol, which is rapidly approaching, maybe it’s going to be the person in crisis that you literally going to talk off the ledge. I see it happen. Rodney sees it. Juanita sees it. We watched the body cameras. We can’t put them all out.

Some of them are so traumatizing. You know, the privacy issues and everything else. But the work being done on a daily basis, saving people’s lives. That’s going to be you. Maybe you’re going to deliver a baby. And it won’t be your own. Think about the impact there. Every day is going to be memorable in some way. There will be many, many amazing days where your pride in this department, in your work, your coworkers’ work, in each other, lifts you up. But there will also be some bad days. Days when the pain and the grief temporarily pushes you down. In spite of all that you will get up, you will fight through it. You’ll bring each other back up.

Why? Because our critical work is that important and it is never truly finished. That’s also how we honor our fallen heroes that have come before us. Those we’ve lost. We honor their devotion to service and their sacrifice by our own deeds each and every day. And I want you to remember, as you sit here today, that you now wear the same uniform that they did. I’m looking out at you. And I was just taking pictures of you, of the shield on your chest, of you sitting there ramrod straight with those patches on your arms. That uniform, those patches, that shield is the same shield as the heroes that we’ve lost that have come before you. Remember how you represent their legacy.

You now have 35,000 fellow officers working alongside you. In some ways you all have a simple job. Pat Lynch, don’t take this the wrong way. It is simple though. It’s not easy. It’s simple. It’s about service. It’s about taking care of people. It’s absolutely what it’s really about. It’s about fighting crime, sure. It’s about keeping people safe. So, be the guardian, be the servant of the people. That is our police department’s legacy. And now it’s yours ss you graduate today. It’s your job to also build on everything that has been done before you, by the thousands and thousands and thousands. Today is your day. But others sat in those chairs, last year, five years ago, a hundred years ago, 175 years ago. You are carrying on their work. You’re carrying on their legacy and you’re going to build on their accomplishments. So, believe me, I know I’ve been talking for a while. I hear the baby’s crying. It’s not always going to be easy. Let’s get this out of the way right now.

What’s Sunday? Halloween. What’s coming up? The marathon. What’s coming up after that, Rodney?

Chief of Department Rodney Harrison, NYPD: Thanksgiving.

Commissioner Shea: Thanksgiving. Then we have the tree lighting. Then we have New Year’s Eve. We know where this is going. To the loved ones sitting behind you, just be patient. This is certainly not your everyday nine to five job. It’s certainly not a remote work from home job either. Be patient. It will get better. They have some navigation to work through.

Welcome to the most noble profession on Earth. To each of you sitting before me, congratulations. We need you out there. New York City needs you. I know you’re going to do phenomenal things. God bless each and every one of you, stay safe.

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