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New class of 700 recruits sworn in at NYPD academy

Mayor Bill de Blasio swore in about 700 recruits who are beginning the NYPD's six-month police academy. October 11, 2016. (Credit: Newsday / Matthew Chayes)

A class of 700 NYPD recruits — 1 in 5 foreign-born — was sworn in Tuesday at the Police Academy in College Point, the latest hiring under a 15-month-old plan to add 1,300 officers to the force.

Mayor Bill de Blasio administered the oath and praised the NYPD’s “audacious generation” of former rank-and-file cops who now constitute the brass for helping “to take New York City back from the forces of crime and disorder.”

“Because you’re a new generation,” de Blasio told the recruits inside an academy auditorium, “you didn’t get to experience all of what we saw in the 70s and the 80s and the 90s in this city. But your leadership did.”

Murders, for example, peaked in 1990, with over 2,200, according to NYPD data, and last year, the figure was about 350.

NYPD First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker said 75 percent of the class is male, 25 percent female. The class includes 41 percent white recruits, 29 percent Hispanic, 16 percent black, and 11 percent Asian or Pacific Islander. Twenty percent of the new officers come from 41 different countries and speak about 29 languages, Tucker said.

The NYPD’s goal this year is to boost the number of police officers to 35,780, according to the Mayor’s Management Report issued last month. In 2015, the mayor said he was comfortable with the status quo. He reversed course and agreed to hire the additional 1,300 officers — the first major increase to the force in several administrations — after pressure from council leaders and former Police Commissioner William Bratton.

One of the recruits is Pracifanie Holmes, 22, of Bay Shore, whose family includes more than a dozen cops — cousins, an uncle and five aunts — including Juanita Holmes, who oversees patrols in Queens North. Pracifanie Holmes, a graduate of Suffolk County Community College and Long Island University, said she aspires to be a detective.

“Everybody asked me why I did not go for Suffolk, and I simply told them that this is the best city in the world,” she said, “and I want to work for New York and I want to continue on my family’s legacy. That’s what’s most important to me.”

Police Commissioner James O’Neill told Holmes and her classmates there is a learning curve for new officers once they hit the street so they need to stay alert.

“The essence of what you’re doing is, you have to figure out who the bad guys are and it takes a while,” O’Neill said. “You have to pay attention.”

He added: “If you have any friends that don’t make good choices, stay away from them. If you have family members that don’t make good choices — I know it’s hard — stay away from them.”


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