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Suffolk welcomes new police recruits at graduation ceremony

Police Officer Francis Guzman of Lindenhurst holds his

Police Officer Francis Guzman of Lindenhurst holds his 2-month-old son, Franco, as he celebrates his graduation from the Suffolk County Police Academy at a ceremony at Suffolk Community College in Brentwood on Friday, April 1, 2016. Credit: Newsday / John Paraskevas

A new generation of police officers officially joined Suffolk County on Friday — marking not only the largest graduating class in a decade, but also the first under the police department’s new commissioner.

“To the graduates, we have something in common — we’re the new guys,” Police Commissioner Timothy Sini said at the ceremony, held at Suffolk County Community College’s Brentwood campus. Sini was confirmed in the top post in February.

The graduating class includes 103 new Suffolk County officers, in addition to 32 officers who will work for East Hampton and Southampton towns, Hempstead Village, Farmingdale State College, Stony Brook University and the Suffolk County Sheriff’s Office.

Hundreds of families and friends filled the bleachers, cheering for the new officers as each of their names were called.

The recruits, who have undergone a rigorous six months of academic, tactical and physical training, also were addressed by Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone.

“While it is an incredibly rewarding career, it also comes with awesome responsibilities and challenges,” Bellone told the class during the ceremony. “The health and safety of our community ... rests upon the work that you will do each and every day.”

Suffolk County’s new recruits were hired under the police contract approved in 2012. Officials have said the hires cost county taxpayers $7.9 million, which comes from the 2016 police fund budget.

Under the previous contract, officials have said the new hires would have cost the county $10.3 million.

Forty-two of the Suffolk County officers have prior law enforcement experience, the majority of those come from the New York City Police Department. In addition, 19 have military backgrounds.

Bellone also called the 166th graduating class of officers the “most diverse” the department has had.

Suffolk’s 103 recruits are composed of five African-American men, one Asian man, 17 white women, 60 white men, five Hispanic women and 15 Hispanic men.

There are 12 Spanish speakers among the recruits, and at least 81 have college degrees.

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