The 80 newest police officers and deputy sheriffs to come out of the Suffolk County Police Academy officially graduated on Friday.
In the ceremony at the Brentwood academy, Suffolk Police Commissioner Timothy Sini spoke to the new officers about their calling in law enforcement.
“You are not here to start a new job. Rather, you are now on a mission — a mission of protecting and serving the residents of Suffolk County,” he said.
While the majority of the officers are heading to the Suffolk police department, 14 are joining the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office, three are going to the Stony Brook University police department, two are joining SUNY Farmingdale’s police department, and the Southampton Town and Rockville Centre departments are getting one graduate each. Next month, the academy will graduate another 118 officers.
Notable members of Friday’s class include class president Matias Ferreira, a former U.S. Marine Corps lance corporal who lost both of his legs while serving in Afghanistan in 2011.
Ferreira, believed to be one of the first fully active double-amputee police officers in the country, received a special commendation from the Marine Corps during the ceremony. He is one of the 44 new officers who have served in the military.
“We have learned a lot these past 29 weeks, but we feel … it’s important to remember why we chose this honorable profession: the ability to protect and serve those who are in need of us,” Ferreira said in his speech.
Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone lauded Ferreira at the ceremony.
“It is exactly that kind of fortitude and determination to overcome the odds that represents the American spirit and personifies the best of law enforcement in this county and in our country,” Bellone said.
Another graduate was John Jantzen — the son of a former Suffolk police officer, also named John Jantzen, who was killed in the line of duty in 1991.
Sini hailed the Jantzen family in his speech.
“I want to thank you and your family for all that you’ve done for the Suffolk County police department and this county,” he said.
Sini also thanked the class for helping with the department’s recent investigation into MS-13 gang activity in Brentwood.
“Many of you assisted in the crime scene search in Brentwood, moving through difficult terrain and thick brush, and I must reiterate how proud I am of this department for its commitment to the mission to eradicate MS-13,” he said.
Referencing this week’s murder of a London police officer in a terror attack, Bellone praised the heroism of police officers who put the public’s safety over their own.
“When you choose to put on this uniform, you’re doing so with the understanding that you will be called upon at times to put your own personal safety and well-being at risk in service to others in your community,” Bellone said. “That is a sacrifice for you and for all of your family members.”