Eight years after his conviction for gun possession, a Queens soldier was pardoned by Governor David Paterson on Tuesday.
The move paves the way for Osvaldo Hernandez, 27, to fulfill his dream of joining the New York City Police Department, which initially denied his application, because of his criminal record.
Specialist Hernandez was arrested in November of 2002 during a routine traffic stop for carrying an illegal handgun. After serving eight months in prison, he enlisted as a paratrooper in the Army and spent 15 months in Afghanistan before he was honorably discharged.
He was recalled to active duty recently and is expected to redeploy to Afghanistan again next month.
Hernandez now hopes to become a police officer once he is released from active duty and says, "I am no hero. I am just an American soldier.... I will try to live up to the faith placed in me in all that I do as an infantryman when my unit deploys to Afghanistan, and when I return home."
Paterson said he was proud to help Hernandez join the NYPD, saying, "Osvaldo Hernandez has demonstrated that individuals can turn their lives around and that we need not let our mistakes define us."
As of late Wednesday, the NYPD had not yet commented on the pardon.