The NYPD officer from Long Island who gained worldwide attention a year ago when he bought a shoeless man near Times Square boots and warm socks was promoted to detective Tuesday.
Lawrence DePrimo, 26, who grew up in Holbrook, was among a group of 69 officers promoted to the rank of detective third grade at police headquarters.
"It is a dream come true," said DePrimo, who will be working out of the NYPD warrant squad in Queens.
Police officials said DePrimo's promotion was merit-based, as were the those of the others who received their detective shields.
"I told everyone, whatever happened, nothing can change that moment in time," said DePrimo's beaming father, Lawrence, 58, as he reiterated how his son's promotion was not related to the way he helped a shoeless Jeffrey Hillman last November.
It was then that a tourist snapped a photo of DePrimo kneeling down and giving Hillman, who city officials later said was actually not homeless, some sturdy boots and socks to ward off the bitter November cold. The photo went viral and garnered De-Primo appearances on television talk shows and a personal, public congratulations from Police Commissioner Ray Kelly as well as a set of NYPD cuff links.
NYPD officials also noted that among those promoted Tuesday were three winners of the police combat cross award: Derrick C. Edouard, Thomas R. Dunne and Thomas Richards.