NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The white gloves went up, and the blue and white confetti came down as the NYPD welcomed 634 new police officers to the force.
The officers cheered after they were sworn-in during a graduation ceremony at Madison Square Garden on Friday.
“You have worked so hard to get you to this day,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “I hope this is a moment where you feel tremendous satisfaction at the commitment you’ve shown, the effort you’ve shown, the focus you’ve shown to now become officers in the greatest police force in the world. ”
The graduates hail from 36 countries and speak 22 languages. The class includes the largest percentage of Latino cops to date — 32 percent.
De Blasio said the diversity includes a recruit from Yemen who came to the U.S. at the age of 13 and interned at his local precinct.
“He now joins over 900 Muslim-American officers who protect our city every day,” de Blasio said.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton told the officers they’re the best trained class in the history of the department, but they have burden to bear.
“You now have the responsibility of going toward the danger,” Bratton said.
Valedictorian Daniel Smith spoke to the class of the seriousness of their new endeavor.
“The shield we wear today cannot be bought, given or inherited. It is earned,” Smith said.