The NYPD on Friday will be promoting its most diverse group of officers to the rank of captain, a development police officials think is a harbinger of big changes in years to come in the department's upper ranks, officials said Thursday.

Of 17 lieutenants being promoted Friday to the rank of captain, 10 will be minorities, said NYPD spokesman Stephen Davis.

Eight of the new captains will be Hispanic, one is black and one is Asian, said Davis.

According to Davis, the NYPD has never seen such a racially and ethnically diverse group of people tapped to be captain in its history.

Appointment to captain is through a civil service examination, the last one being given in September 2014, officials said. Of the 118 candidates who passed the exam, about 50 percent were minorities. Passing the examination and placement on the civil service list is needed to be appointed to rank of captain, which is a major steppingstone for anyone with aspirations for more highly ranked NYPD jobs, according to department officials.

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A demographic shift in favor of minorities to the rank of captain is likely to mean that future ranks of inspectors and chiefs -- the higher commands -- will mirror that change, Davis said.

Officials also noted that the officers who have passed the latest captain's exam seem to be younger and with fewer years on the job, meaning they will likely have strong aspirations for promotion.

"As a [young] lieutenant, you are incentivized to become a captain" because more promotions could lie ahead, said Davis.