A rookie cop carried a tradition of Nassau County police work into the fourth generation of his family Monday when he became one of three dozen recruits from Long Island police agencies to finish academy training.
Officer Sean Conroy, who now carries the same shield that his great-grandfather and father once did, was among 27 Nassau County police recruits and nine recruits from other local agencies who graduated in a ceremony at SUNY Old Westbury.
"I always knew that I wanted to do this," Conroy, 32, said after the ceremony, in which he captured his academy class' overall excellence award.
The graduate of Cornell University and Chaminade High School spent a decade working on Wall Street before following his law enforcement vocation, and was among a handful of speakers who addressed a packed campus theater.
The graduation infused the Nassau County Police Department with its first class of new officers since 2008.
It also came at a time when the department has faced controversy, after the recent ouster of Commissioner Thomas Dale amid revelations he ordered the arrest of a witness in a politically charged case.
Nassau County Executive Edward Mangano, who plans to hire a consultant to review the department's ethics, policies and training, helped hand out certificates to the new officers.
He said Nassau police have a tradition of professionalism and integrity, and the department has made the county "the safest large suburban county in the nation."
"We pray for their safety and good health as they enter a very dangerous profession," Mangano added as he welcomed the new officers.
Acting Nassau police Commissioner Victor Politi told officers their learning would continue on the job and their performance would come under "close public scrutiny."
"When you leave today, the walls of your classroom will simply expand to become the boundaries of the community in which you are assigned," he said.
Four of the new officers are now members of the Lynbrook Police Department, two work for the Glen Cove Police Department, two more will police at Farmingdale State College and one officer is with the Hempstead Police Department.
The graduation was memorable for loved ones of the new officers.
"I'm just so proud of him," said Margaret Conroy, Sean Conroy's grandmother.
"I want him to enjoy it and stay safe," said the officer's father, retired Nassau Det. Martin Conroy Jr.
The event also inspired some pint-size fans to don police blues of their own, including infant John Lechmanski Jr.
The 3-month-old wore a blue outfit emblazoned with "Baby Officer" as he snuggled after the ceremony in the arms of his dad, former NYPD officer and new Nassau Officer John Lechmanski.