PATERSON, N.J. (CBSNewYork) – There was an emotional ceremony in Paterson Friday as a fallen officer’s legacy was passed on to his sister, a new graduate of the police force.
Friday morning, 28-year-old Bavennia Franklin was assigned the badge number that belonged to her late brother Tyron Franklin.
“Each time I felt weak, I dug deep down and pulled the strength that my brother had,” Bavennia said.
Tyron Franklin, 23, was shot and killed in the line of duty 13 years ago inside a restaurant after a botched robbery. He was off duty and refused to give up his wallet.
He had been on the force for less than a year.
Bavennia held back tears as she not only joined the department but was given a reminder of her brother she will now carry with her forever.
“She will wear the badge that her brother wore, the number that he wore, to continue the legacy of the Franklin family in their service to the city of Paterson,” Paterson Mayor Andre Sayegh said.
This is the first badge reassignment ceremony in Paterson’s history.
“Your brother is looking down on you today at this proud moment because we are all proud of you, we are all proud of him, and we are proud of the Franklin family,” Paterson Public Safety Director Gerald Speziale said.
The Franklin family has a long history of service, CBS2’s Kevin Rincon reports.
Larry Franklin, Tyron and Bavennia’s father, served in the military before joining the Paterson Fire Department. He was the first Black firefighter to rise to the rank of captain. He and his wife, Belinda, were at the ceremony.
“We’ve always had that knack to want to serve our fellow man,” Larry said.
“I know what happened to my son, but I’m not expecting that to happen to [Bavennia],” Belinda said.
Bavennia says her brother was her hero.
“He always inspired me. He was my big bro, showed me how to act, how to move, how to motivate myself, how to do all the things that he taught me. And he was so great. He showed me how to be courageous, how to help others in need and not be selfish,” Bavennia said.
As they reflect on the life of Tyron, a standout high school football player, they all felt he was there with them at the ceremony.
“He was good at everything he did, so I thought about the effort that he put forward and I applied the same. I would just hear him, ‘You can do it, you can do it. Don’t doubt yourself, just push. You can’t do it,'” Bavennia said.
And she did do it, graduating from the academy and now an officer. Her nephew Tyron Franklin Jr. pinned the badge with his late father’s number to Bavennia’s uniform, a reminder his life won’t be forgotten.
Kevin Rincon contributed to this report.
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