His older brother and younger sister back in Ireland are both police officers and now Joseph Massey has realized his dream of being a cop in this country.
The Irish immigrant, an American citizen for six years, began his police career at the Nassau County Police Department Thursday, as one of 154 recruits sworn in for the new academy class.
“I’m just excited, over the moon, I can’t wait,” said Massey, 32, a Nassau resident who said he’s started running a few miles every day and eating healthy to prepare for the seven months of rigorous training ahead. “I’m getting texts from people back home all morning, phone calls yesterday. I just want to get my feet wet and start working away.”
This newest class of recruits brings the number of hires in the past two years close to 700, as the department tries to backfill the record number of retirements of the past few years, said Acting Commissioner Thomas Krumpter.
Krumpter, who said he expects more than 100 retirements this year and as many as 200 in 2017, said the department will likely hire another class of recruits in October once this new class graduates.
The current department head count, including the new recruits, is just shy of 2,400 sworn officers, he said.
“We’ve been hiring at a tempo that we have not hired in probably 30 years,” Krumpter said. “It’s a great time in this department. It’s a real positive, we’ve hired 700 police officers, a lot of young police officers, a lot of energy. Also during that time, we’ve lost a lot of experience, and that’s a challenge.”
The class that started Thursday is one of the department’s most diverse, department officials said.
Of the 154 recruits, 24 are female, including one black woman and two Hispanic women. There are also 17 Hispanic men, 6 black men and two Asian men, according to department statistics.
And some come with experience: 45 of the recruits have prior law enforcement experience and 15 have military experience, officials said.
Lisan Honeywell, 33, of Queens, previously an assistant manager at a construction company, said the job has always been one she’s aspired to because she wants to “serve and protect my country and my community.”
“I’m proud to be here,” she said.
Ryan Paterson, 24, of Nassau, was until recently working for the county Parks Department, when his long-held dream to follow in the footsteps of his father materialized.
Paterson’s father is Pete Paterson, a veteran Nassau police officer and the first vice president of the Police Benevolent Association.
On his first day, the younger Paterson described his emotions as “a little nervous, but very excited.”
His goal, he said, is to be “the best police officer I can be.”