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Injured NYPD officers from LI get promoted

NYPD Det. Kevin Brennan speaks to the media

NYPD Det. Kevin Brennan speaks to the media as NYPD Det. Kevin Herlihy listens behind him as they address questions about their recovery after being shot on duty. They addressed questions after they were promoted during a ceremony at One Police Plaza Friday. (Feb. 24, 2012) Credit: Craig Ruttle

Two cops from Long Island -- still recovering from recent bullet wounds -- were promoted Friday as cheers and applause reverberated in a cavernous auditorium at NYPD headquarters in Manhattan.

Hundreds of fellow officers and onlookers gave standing ovations to Officer Kevin Brennan of Garden City Park and Det. Kevin Herlihy of Lynbrook during the formal ceremony.

Brennan, 29, was promoted to detective, and Herlihy, 47, was elevated to first grade.

"I think I am the luckiest man on the planet," Brennan said afterward.

The officer, still undergoing physical therapy after sustaining a head wound during a Jan. 31 struggle with a Brooklyn shooting suspect, was honored first.

He needed help climbing the steps and walked slowly across the stage, pausing to salute Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

After receiving the oath of office, Brennan stepped over to Kelly, who gave him his detective certificate and shook his hand.

The process was repeated for Herlihy, who was shot in the left arm during a Feb. 14 Harlem subway station shootout with an attempted murder suspect.

Kelly hailed the officers' "amazing courage" under fire, adding, "Miraculously, both officers are with us today."

Brennan later described his recovery as a "slow process, with counseling and physical therapy."

"I still have pain in my neck and shoulders, but I'm getting better every day, and the pain will be gone in the next few months," said Brennan, a six-year veteran who was shot at close range -- the bullet nearly hitting his brain.

Brennan, who admitted to fighting back tears during the ceremony, said he has no regrets about being a cop. "I would have not chosen another career," he said as his wife, Janet, looked on.

Herlihy, an 18-year veteran, said he's focused on his recovery -- and keeping stress to a minimum.

"I am taking care of the kids and pleasing the wife. If she's happy, I'm happy," he said.

Herlihy said he doesn't intend to return to work right away. His wife, Adrienne, and their three children -- Dylan, 10, Tyler, 6, and Zoey, 14 months, attended the ceremony.

As Herlihy spoke, Brennan delicately held the tiny fingers of his 12-week-old daughter Maeve, as if clasping a rose petal. Brennan said his thoughts about his baby girl helped him pull through the ordeal, including 10 days in the hospital.

Michael McBride, 52, who was accused of shooting Herlihy, was killed by a gunshot wound to the chest by the detective. The suspect in Brennan's shooting, Luis Ortiz, 21, of Brooklyn, has been indicted on a charge of first-degree murder and is being held without bail.

More than 100 cops and civilians received promotions during the department's regularly scheduled ceremony Friday.

With Maria Alvarez, Kery Murakami and Ellen Yan

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