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Mayor Adams Delivers Remarks At NYPD Recruit Graduation Ceremony

First Deputy Commissioner Tania Kinsella, Police Department: Good morning, everyone. Mayor Adams, family, friends. On behalf of Police Commissioner Caban and the entire executive staff, it’s my honor to welcome you to Madison Square Garden. Today in six months of intense training, dedication and resilience we understand the challenges you faced, the sacrifices that you made and the sweat and tears that poured into becoming one of New York’s finest. 

You see, 21 years ago I was you. I was sitting in those very seats, a young girl from the Bronx born from a queen. All I had was my grit and my will to succeed. I had no clue, and when I tell you I had no clue on the impact that I will eventually make on this city. 

And when I tell you this, last year this time, I was a one star chief in uniform preparing for the New Year’s Eve detail that you all will be there. You’re welcome. [Laughter.] And Commissioner Caban was the first deputy commissioner. And one year ago, I would’ve never dreamed of being the second highest member in the greatest police department in the world. So, please believe me when I tell you the sky’s the limits on this job. Dream high. Think big. You’re the future, and it’s going to shine bright. 

Raising my right hand that day was the best decision of my life. It shaped me into the person I am today. I look at all of you and I see myself. I see the future. Today, our city gains 631 new protectors; among them, 64 have served in the U.S. military. We thank you for your service, and we welcome your leadership and expertise into our rank and file. 

The diversity in this class is strong. 181 of you come from 33 different countries across the globe and speak 34 different languages. Our [valedictorian], Officer Stone, hails from the beautiful island of Jamaica. Respect. Where part of my Caribbean roots run deep. You see, Officer Stone worked as a police officer in Jamaica for five years before pursuing the American dream, serving in the U.S. Army and now becoming a member of the NYPD. 

Journeys like this shape our city and department. We thrive on it, because our shield does not discriminate based on where you’re from or what language you speak. We embrace that mix and that flavor in our ranks. 

And adding to the mix is Officer [Brazina], a third-generation police officer that will wear Shield Number 7166. 

He is the fourth person in his family to serve and protect. Officer [Brazina], your family’s deep sense of duty runs in your blood, and we appreciate, we appreciate your family and you for keeping the legacy alive. 

But today you all join a brother and sisterhood that goes beyond public service. As everyone behind me on this dais can tell you, this job is no walk in the park but it’s worth it, believe me. This is why today not only are you making a commitment to our good city, you are making a commitment to 34,000 other officers across the five boroughs. 

In the NYPD, we look out for one another. We support, protect each other through thick and thin. Throughout your careers you will encounter ups and downs, but during those difficult times always remember you will never be alone from this day forward. 

A wise man once told me, tune out the noise and the haters and focus and hustle for your communities that you serve. And I’ll give you a little tip. If you embrace the communities, they will embrace you back. 

Channel your inner Gandhi and be the change you wish to see in the world. You now— and I’m going to say this again— you now have the power to make a difference and to shape or change the narrative. This job is far more than chasing the bad guys, making arrests. 

You will be there now for New Yorkers when they need you the most. You will be on the front lines assisting those in distress, whether it’s handling a traffic accident, delivering babies— because yes, some of you will be delivering babies— or someone going through a mental health crisis. 

You will now be the calm in every storm. But it’s not all bad, because now you are going to be mentors for our youth in the communities. You are now part of the glue that holds this good city together. This administration expects you to engage with residents, listen to their concerns and be their support in their time of need. 

And just note, beyond your shields and uniforms lies a deep responsibility to understand the heartbeat of our neighborhoods, each interaction, every decision you make contributes to a safer city for our loved ones like our mothers, our fathers, our brothers and sisters. The power lies within you now. You can make a positive impact on someone’s life. 

Your presence alone— the presence of a New York City police officer— when used with humility and empathy becomes a symbol of comfort, and it’s a sign that help is here. 

And I promise you this as I stand here, and we all promise you this: as long as you do the right thing, the city, the job, your colleagues and even the community will always have your back. 

So, go out there and be the cops this city needs. Make a difference. Embrace the madness— because there will be madness— enjoy the front row seats to the greatest show in the world. There’s no other job like it. And remember, please remember this. Always stay true to yourself and stay safe. Congratulations, officers. 

We would like to thank the police academy for training and preparing our future cops, our future leaders. One of you, if not all of you, some of you will be on this stage one day. The academy staff, you are the very best at what you do. And lastly, but not least, to our family members here today. You as much as the academy deserve the credit for producing our newest, finest members. You are now a part of the NYPD family, and we welcome you. Congratulations, everyone. Stay safe. God bless always. Happy New Year. 

Lieutenant Jack Conway, Police Department: Thank you, Commissioner Kinsella. It is now my pleasure to introduce the mayor of the City of New York, The Honorable Eric Adams. 

Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. I think about 1984. I was a transit police officer. We rode the subway system alone. Our radios did not work. We would throw our nightsticks on the platform because it made a unique sound when we needed help. And I was afraid. 

I had this awesome responsibility as a young man that I had to serve and protect the city. Crime was high. It was in the crack cocaine era. Gang violence. Uncertainty. Mommy would not sleep until my tour was over. This awesome weight I felt every time I walked through the trains, every time I stood at a station. 

I asked myself, how could I do this job? How could I turn around the violence we saw in this city? And just the feeling of hopelessness that was so pervasive neighborhood after neighborhood. Lost a younger officer, Officer Burns, in South Jamaica, Queens, blocks away from my house. 

The bad people of the city thought that they can run us out of the city, but they got it wrong. We never gave up and we never surrendered. Little did I know that being that recruit in the police academy and becoming a rookie police officer and having people tell us what we couldn’t do that I learned a valuable lesson. 

I learned that you have to ignore the noise. We put so much focus on people who are in pain and want to displace their pain on us. Overwhelmingly the people of this city want you. They love you. They need you. When they see you come out of the subway station or respond to a job or on a street corner, they feel this sense of warmth and security. 

Yes, you’re going to have a small numerical minority that no matter what happens they’re going to complain about everything you do, and yes, you’re going to have good days and bad days. There are going to be days you’re going to wish you did not get out of bed and days you wish you got out of bed, yes. 

We’re not looking for perfection, we’re looking for dedication and commitment, and we’re looking for you to come home every day to your family members like my mommy stayed up waiting for me to come home. You need to come home to your mothers, your fathers, your sisters, your brothers, your spouses, your nieces, your nephews, your children. 

I want you to be committed to this job and the diversity that this job has to offer. All of us come from somewhere to show what’s great about New York City. And what I learned as a recruit, what I learned as a rookie cop, what I learned in my 22 years is that no matter what comes at us we can handle it. 

And look at that preparation now. I’m in a city with 161,000 migrants, a city that we’re dealing with economic challenges beyond belief, a city where the city councilmembers believe you should not have the empowerment you need. Instead of patrolling, they want you to do paperwork. A city where people believe we cannot come back. A city where we’re seeing what the challenges are facing the national problems on our lap and you must patrol. 

This is the city we’re in. And I thank God every day that we have a cop that’s the mayor of the City of New York that has went through the training that you have going through and ready to start this city in the manner that it should be served. 

I am you. And right now in his audience, when you finish your career, one of you will be a congressman, one of you will be a governor, one of you would be a mayor, one of you may even be the president of the United States. You’re going to take that experience that you have and you’re going to show how to lead, how to lead from the front. 

When others run from fear you run towards fear to serve the public. And dyes, there are people sitting in the bleachers of life, they’re detached spectators that don’t want to fully involved themselves in the full contact sport called policing. Don’t listen to those in the bleachers. Stay on the field, win it for the city. 

The greatest city on the globe. There is no other city like New York. I always say it over and over again, there’s two types of Americans: those who live in New York and those who wish they could. We’re the lucky ones. And we sit under the tree of freedom because you will water that tree with your dedication and your commitment. 

What an obligation. What a fulfillment. What a joy. There’s no other career I would have wanted to have than being a member of the New York City Police Department, and now you’re one of them. You’re so proud of what you have done. 

And to your family members who were there who stood by you as they watched them turn from being young people to uniformed members of the service, I thank you. Let’s appreciate each other and the diversity that this city has to offer. Let’s know what it is to be in a place where we secure our mosques, our synagogues, our Buddhist temples, our Sikh temples. Let’s know what it is, you know, wear a yarmulke, a kufi, a hijab. Let’s know what it is to celebrate and lift each other up. 

This is the city we live in. No one does it like New York. No other country on the globe has “dream” attached to its name. No German dream, no French dream, no Russian dream, but dammit, there’s an American dream, and that dream is alive because of the men and women who sit in this room today. Congratulations to you, recruits. Let’s keep our city safe. 

December 29, 2023 New York NY

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December 2023

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