The Nassau County Police Department, noted for its low turnover, swore in 37 police recruits Friday.
It was the first new class to enter the Police Academy in Massapequa since 2008, when 50 recruits joined. The class before that was in 2004, when 48 officers were sworn in.
"You will become part of a tradition that started in 1925 with 55 sworn officers," Police Commissioner Thomas Dale said at a ceremony at Police Headquarters in Mineola. "Today, with you included, we have 2,246 officers. We are the 15th largest department in the nation."
At its peak in the 1970s, Nassau had about 4,200 officers.
"We operate under a semi-military management style that many of you may not be used to," Dale said. "Get used to it real fast, or you will not survive."
"I'm not nervous," Panzarino, 25, said. "Obviously I've been through the Marine Corps boot camp, the NYPD Academy. I did hear Nassau is tough, but I'm looking forward to it."
The NYPD pays $41,975 to start and peaks at $76,488 after 51/2 years, according to its website. Nassau pays $34,000 to start and reaches $107,319 after nine years, according to its website. The salaries do not include overtime, shift differential and other benefits that can push the salaries much higher.
The oath was administered by County Executive Edward Mangano, the first time he has done this after 31/2 years in office.
"I thank you for choosing to be part of the illustrious Nassau County Police Department and for dedicating your career to keeping our residents safe," Mangano said. "During times of crisis, such as Hurricane Sandy, our police officers are on the front line making sure that order is kept and that our residents are safe."
"Some of you have military experience, some of you have prior law enforcement experience, but all of you have the innate ability and drive to serve and protect," Mangano said.
The police department was unable to provide a breakout of how many recruits were coming from the NYPD or other law enforcement agencies.
"New York City is great, but Nassau had its perks," he said. "I'm looking forward to working in the community I grew up in."