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Transcript: Mayor Adams Delivers Remarks at NYPD Academy Graduation Ceremony

July 25, 2023

Police Commissioner Edward Caban: Thank you, Mayor Adams, for joining us here today. To our graduates, and to your loved ones and friends who have come from near and far to celebrate and support you. On behalf of 51,000 members of the NYPD, welcome to the Police Academy graduation, and congratulations on this special achievement. Today is day one. It is a day that will always stand out from among the rest because today is the day you become one of New York's finest. Getting here was no easy task. There were challenges at every turn, and for good reason, because there are real challenges waiting for you right outside these doors. But you looked within, discovered you had the qualities that were needed, and accomplished your goal.

For that, you have now earned the right to wear the NYPD blue uniform, but keep in mind, wearing it and upholding it are not the same. The patch on that uniform is the very definition of excellence in policing around the globe. Today you are now part of a living legacy of service and sacrifice that stretches back 178 years, and now you are the keepers of that legacy. It's an awesome responsibility. And as I look out at this group, I see one of our greatest strengths, our diversity, and it is truly something special. 25 percent of this class was born outside of the United States. You hail from 41 different countries, and speak 27 different languages, including American Sign Language. You look like the city you serve. But no matter what your background is, all of you would join the NYPD at a time when we have great momentum behind us.

Your brothers and sisters in blue have been hard at work. It is the middle of the summer and we are knocking down crime. Fewer shootings, fewer murders, fewer transit crimes, and lower overall crime for the first time in a long time. And in case you didn't know it, that is not usually how things go as the summer heats up. But let me tell you, none of this is happening by accident. Our mayor gave us a mission. 

We had to turn things around. It was a challenge we gladly accepted. And despite this incredible progress, there are still some who question the overall safety of New York City. Whether they are a victim of a crime, or just watching the viral headlines, we cannot deny their experience. But we can build upon our progress so that the reality of all hard work overcomes the perception of danger. That's where you come in.

Every tour, every radio runner, every car stop is an opportunity. Your fellow New Yorkers are going to call on you for help. And in those moments, often the worst moments, you'll leave a mark, a mark that will endure in that person's life forever. What kind of mark will it be? Whether good or bad, it will ripple across their family and around their community. So never forget that your actions carry enormous weight.

The pressure that comes with this profession can be heavy whether day one or day 7,001. You bring some of the job home to another group of people who are part of this journey, your family and loved ones. To this amazing group of people, I know your pride for today is mixed with concern for tomorrow. I want to thank all of you for the support you have given, and will continue to give our cops. We know it's not always easy, and we are so fortunate to count you among our NYPD family. So let's give our families a round of applause.

Your fellow New Yorkers want you in their communities. They appreciate your service. I hear it all the time. They're rooting for you to succeed, and so am I. So it's important to remember you are not doing this alone. We will get there together. You have the support of the mayor, myself, and the entire executive team. On our watch, we will continue to drive down crime and disorder, helping those in need. The men and women of the NYPD always answer the call. You are forever in the arena doing the hard work, making New York City better tomorrow than it was today. For that, you have my deepest respect. Congratulations on this amazing accomplishment. Stay safe, and God bless.

Sergeant Kevin Heavey, Ceremonial Unit, NYPD: Thank you, commissioner. It's now my pleasure to introduce the mayor of the City of New York, the Honorable Eric Adams.

Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Thank you so much. And thank you for your words, Commissioner. And congratulations to our graduates, your family. All of those months over months over studying, making this transition from being a civilian to a uniform member of the department. Such a significant jump. And please, police based on the majority, not the numerical minority that are participating in criminal behavior in our city.

I just want to leave you with one story. My days as a platoon commander in the 88th Precinct. We went to respond to a situation in one of our NYCHA developments. And we walked inside the building. There were urination in the elevator. The rookie officer I was with pointed to it and stated, "You see, lieutenant, these people don't want anything. This is how they want to live." And I told them that one person urinated in the elevator. Everyone in this development is as angry about it as we are angry about it. If you view the actions of the worst among us as the majority among us, you are going to have a terrible career. But if you view everyone as an individual, treat them with dignity and respect, understand that they, like you, want the best for their family, and be able to provide a lifestyle for them, then you will have a different experience while you are on patrol, and while you move through the ranks, and throughout your career.

That is why I fought hard with Pat Lynch from the PBA to make sure that you could have a decent wage as a member of the New York City Police Department, so you could provide for your family. That is why we are partnering to make sure you have the best equipment to do your job, and to make sure that social media does not decide if you are a good officer, or a good respondent to a crisis or not. We will make that decision in a fair way and give you the support that you deserve to do your job. Your role is to protect the public, but also to go home to your family every day. Nothing is more painful than what former Commissioner Keechant Sewell and I had to experience when we responded to the hospital to see Officer Mora and Rivera lost, assassinated while they were responding to a call of service.

We don't want to experience that. The first few months we saw a shooting of police officers, how it impacted our lives and made an everlasting impression on me. I don't want to knock at your door. I don't want to have to tell your parents you're not coming home. I don't want to have to tell your spouses, your loved one, your family members. So you must take the training that you receive from us and make sure you execute it precisely and protect yourself, and protect your partner. But you also must have a high tolerance rate for those who are going to try to bait you and bring you into a level of unprofessionalism.

You must look after each other. You must respond to the scene and tell each other when it is going to fall. You are your brother's keeper, and I believe it's so significant what Commissioner Caban pointed out. The level of foreign-born police officers that are now finding their way in our Police Department. Those officers who are joining you here today from Jamaica, receiving the training, from Dubai, receiving the training. We are an international Police Department. We have the best product going, bar none, member of the New York City Police Department.

But also our national anthem has a significant line in it that I'll always remember. "The rockets’ red glare, of bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag is still there." It doesn't matter what the bombs are. It could be a physical bomb of terrorism. It could be the bombs of Covid, it could be the bombs of changing administrations. It could be the bombs of a lack of economic stability.

No matter what the bombs are, you look up and that flag is still there. There's something special about this country. I would tell people over and over again, there's no other country on the globe where dream is attached to its name. No German dream, no French dream, no Polish dream, but damn it, there's an American dream. And that dream comes alive because of the men and women who places themselves on the front line and protect and save that dream.

You water the tree of freedom with your blood, your sweat, your commitment, your tears. You have now joined those ranks, and those ranks are a proud place to be. And you today must make up in your mind what type of career you are going to have. I know and you know can go from being a commander in Manhattan to being the mayor of the City of New York. It's up to you to decide.

But one thing you have to do, you have to always be ready. And that's why I am going to go off script and call our first female to hold the role as the first deputy police commissioner of the City of New York. As you see her and hear from her, watch the youthfulness, watch the diligence, watch the commitment. Watch the dedication, watch the experience. This is the future in front of you, the diversity, the understanding of how great we are as a city and how great we are as a Police Department. Please greet our First Deputy Commissioner, Tania Kinsella.

First Deputy Commissioner Tania Kinsella, Police Department: Good morning, everyone. 20 years ago, July the 1st, I was here, I was sworn in. And I tell you a brief story about myself. I'm just a girl from the Bronx. Went to Jane Addams High School and never thought that my career, my life, would end up here.

I spent 20 years on patrol, in the 120 precinct. I'll never forget walking through those doors in 2004, January, and I was one of few African Americans in the command. And I spent a few weeks there and I said, "One day I'm going to be the commanding officer here."

Fast forward to 17 years later, I was a commanding officer there. The moral the story is anything that you want to be in the Police Department, you can be. Anything that you set your heart and your goals and you work hard to do, you can do it. Don't let anyone limit you. Don't let anyone tell you that you cannot do it, because you can. I'm just a girl from the Bronx and now I'm the first African American female first deputy commissioner.

So when you see me, you see hope because I was you, and all I had was a dream and I worked towards that dream. Thank you. God bless and be safe.


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