New Suffolk County Police Officer Andre Boozer is going to be a terrific cop.
Just ask his beaming mother.
“I am so proud and I am so excited,” New York Police Department Chief of Transit Eleanor Adjei-Burnett said after Boozer and 113 other recruits graduated Wednesday from the Suffolk County Police Academy in Brentwood. “He is such a good kid. I know he will be a good police officer.”
Boozer and his fellow graduates made up one of the most diverse recruit classes in the department’s history, Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said during the graduation ceremony.
Thirty-four percent of the class identifies as Hispanic, African-American, Asian or Middle Eastern, Sini said. Twelve of the new officers speak Spanish fluently. Ten served in the armed forces, and more than a third have previous law-enforcement experience.
Two of the officers, meanwhile, became fathers during the 29 weeks they trained at the academy.
“There were so many challenges, but I’m lucky I had my family,” Officer Edwin Hernandez said after the ceremony, as he clutched his month-old daughter Isabella.
Sini told his newest cops they were not just starting a new job — they were embarking on an important mission.
“We are now united in a singular mission, to protect and serve all the residents of Suffolk County,” Sini said.
“People who are complete strangers to you will rely on you for protection in times of their greatest need,” Sini added. “And you will deliver with respect and dignity.”
Sini thanked the class for the assistance they provided in the department’s crackdown on MS-13, the street gang federal prosecutors say is responsible for the brutal murders of Brentwood teenagers Kayla Cuevas, Nisa Mickens and Jose Pena-Hernandez last fall. Recruits searched through difficult terrain and thick brush to help investigators find evidence, Sini said.
“You will be part of the solution from day one, part of the solution to the problems facing our communities,” Sini said.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone said the new officers were joining the department at a time when the county was experiencing historically low crime levels, but emphasized that law enforcement is still a dangerous job.
“You are in a position on a daily basis of potentially putting your safety, your health, your well-being on the line for those you have sworn to protect and serve,” Bellone said.
Last month, 59 recruits graduated from the academy. A total of 173 new officers have joined the department’s ranks in 2017, officials said.
Three East Hampton Town recruits and one Westhampton Beach Village recruit also graduated from the academy Wednesday.
Boozer said he can’t wait to start at the department’s Fifth Precinct.
“I’m ready to go out there and help people,” he said.
But first, he had to celebrate the important milestone with his family.
“This is amazing,” said his father Darryl Burnett, a retired NYPD officer. “I am so happy for my son.”