For newly graduated Nassau County Police Officer Lauren J. Jacobs, law enforcement is a family affair.
Jacobs, who was one of 81 officers to graduate from the Nassau County Police Academy on Wednesday, follows in the footsteps of her brother, Officer Matthew Friedrich, and her father, retired Lt. Greg Friedrich, a 36-year Nassau veteran.
“After watching my dad and growing up with the department as my police family, I've always had the desire to be a part of it," said Jacobs, 39, who spent 11 years as a teacher before entering the academy. "Now I can proudly say I am a part of the Nassau County Police Department."
Jacobs was one of 14 women to graduate from the academy at a ceremony at Chaminade High School in Mineola. Of the 81 graduates, 70 will head to the Nassau County police department, four will go to the Manhattan district attorney's office and six will join the Colchester, Hempstead, Lake Success, Muttontown, Old Brookville and Sands Point police departments. One officer will serve in the Nassau Community College Public Safety Office.
Commissioner Patrick Ryder spoke to the graduates about their responsibilities as law enforcement officers.
"You're the face of this department," he said. "When you took your oath seven months ago, you pledged your loyalty to the citizens of Nassau County to protect and serve."
Retired Nassau County Det. John Conley, 59, took that same oath 26 years ago and Wednesday evening, he witnessed his son, Kevin Conley, 23, do the same. The third-generation officer looks to surpass his dad's years of service by at least a decade.
"Grandpa was NYPD and my uncle was on Nassau as well," the newly graduated Conley said. "All the stories during family dinner about the precinct my dad worked in makes me proud to be joining the family."
While the proud father, who served on the Nassau bomb squad for several years, wouldn't admit to crying he did say he made sure he had his handkerchief in his back pocket throughout the ceremony.
"I mean I'm very proud, but I've done more praying during the last seven months," he said.
Notable members of Wednesday's class included Daniel H. Schoenfeld, who was awarded the Firearms Proficiency Award; Frederick de la Rosa Jr., recipient of the Physical Training Proficiency Award; and James P. Stella, who took home the Overall Excellence Award and the Academic Excellence Award.
Stella's brother, Peter J. Stella, 27, also graduated from the academy Wednesday. When James Stella, 29, was exiting the stage for his brother's chance to grab his certificate, Ryder, the commissioner, jokingly ordered the graduate to come back.
"Get back here and take a picture with your brother," he said.