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Sixty-nine police recruits graduated Wednesday from the Westchester County Police Academy, including five from the New Rochelle Police Department.
“The NRPD wants to congratulate our newest members who graduated from the Westchester County Police Academy yesterday, Police Officers Kyle Sanchez, Ben Tagni, Phalen Pedro, Deivy Martinez, and Hanson Bamfo,” says New Rochelle Police Commissioner Joseph Schaller.
Due to the Covid-19 crisis, a scaled-down graduation ceremony was conducted on the drill floor at the Police Academy in Valhalla and was streamed live on the Westchester County Police YouTube channel. The ceremony itself was limited to the recruits and members of the Police Academy staff.
Prior to the ceremony, videotaped messages of congratulation from County Executive George Latimer and Chief Christopher McNerney, president of the Westchester County Chiefs of Police Association, were played for the graduates in lieu of in-person speeches.
“We know that you have already achieved intellectually, you’ve achieved physically, you’ve proved that you’ve got what it takes to be successful,” Latimer said. “And we’re rooting for your success and we’re very happy that this moment has come. This is a class like no other, with the pandemic around us.”
He concluded, “Congratulations for your achievement and know that when you go out there we have your back. You’re doing a great service for your fellow Westchester and Putnam residents.”
Public Safety Commissioner Thomas A. Gleason, who provided the only in-person remarks, saluted the class for persevering through the challenges posed by the pandemic.
“This class came in 69 strong and you go out 69 strong. In the face of this pandemic and these unsettling times, no one bailed out. No one said this is more than I bargained for. No one said I will leave this difficult and dangerous environment to someone else. So I salute you all for staying the course,” he said.
He added, “No one in Westchester law enforcement will have had an Academy experience quite like this one. That’s a badge of honor the 149th Session will always have.”