Hundreds of new police officers joined the ranks Thursday as the NYPD held a graduation ceremony. NY1's Ruschell Boone filed the following report.
838 new police officers are set to hit the streets on graduation day after more than six months of intensive training at the Police Academy.
"I feel so accomplished right now," said graduate Shynell Parris-Mitchell. I feel like on top of the world because it was it was difficult. Especially in the beginning.
Officer Paul Michalak will be patrolling the city after leading combat patrols while serving in Afghanistan.
"It feels excellent," he said. "Exciting. We're all looking forward to getting out there and serving our community."
The officers will be deployed to high-crime neighborhoods under the city's Operation Impact program which pairs rookie officers with experienced supervisors. The city's controversial stop, question and frisk policy is often used in those areas.
Both Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and the new officers said they are well prepared to carry out the policy in a way that protects and respects the community they serve.
"It was excellent training that we received on stop question and possible frisk at the academy," Michalak said. "Knowledge-based material, instruction and role play scenarios."
"They have just received six months of intensive training," Kelly said. "We have prominent leaders from the minority community speak to them. We want them to conduct themselves with professionalism and treat everyone they encounter with dignity."
The recruits represent 42 different nationalities. Many of the officers will patrol the borough in which they live but most said they reside outside of the five boroughs. The graduation ceremony was held in front of thousands of their loved ones.
"It's hitting reality that it's a danger but I have to consider that it's a job and he's going to work," said Donna Russo, a mother of a graduating officer. "I'm very very proud of him."
"She said it was tough, you know, but I told her to hang in there stick in there and she made it," said Sandra Smart, the mother of another graduating officer.
The first big assignment for the new graduates will be helping to secure the city during the Fourth of July celebrations.