Transcript: Mayor Adams speaks at NYPD graduation ceremony
Assets of Adams: Personal experience as NYC cop
EDITORS’ NOTE: Wherever one stands — or postures — politically on the governance of our city, we hope our readers will embrace the heartfelt expressions of our mayor, in addressing a new class of NYPD. There is wisdom and insight for all New Yorkers here.
Mayor Eric Adams: Just looking back at Patty Lynch, who I’ve known for so many years, he is going to be speaking on behalf of you as your union head. I don’t know what the actual year was, but I was on the desk in the 88th Precinct when I came in to do my midnight tour of duty. There was a young man who was there, 11-years-old. He was cursing, spitting at the officers. He was arrested for the second time for a robbery. When I took the desk that night, I went over to him and asked him, “Did he want something to drink?”
He spat at me and cursed me. About an hour later, I asked him, “Did he want to use the restroom?” He shook his head and said yes. Another hour passed by, I bought him something to drink and a candy bar, and I handed it to him. About the third hour of the tour, I sat down next to him and I asked him, I said, “Young man, what’s wrong? Second time you were arrested for a robbery.” He broke down and started to cry. His mother was on crack cocaine. His dad was upstate serving time for murder. He was missing from school for almost thirty to forty days and no one knew it.
And here he was sitting inside a precinct. We abandoned him. We betrayed him. That betrayal falls in the hands of you all the time. A dysfunctional city that takes and breaks children, turns them into broken adults in a broken system that they expect you to fix. And when you don’t get it perfectly right all the time, they put you on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and try to demonize you, saying you are not suitable to do your job. I’m here to tell you today, you are more than suitable to do your job, and you would have the support to do your job — and it’s not easy. There’s something noble about putting on a bulletproof vest and standing on street corners and running into the face of danger only to be critiqued. But don’t allow the loud noise to displace the energy and spirit that people feel for you every day.
Everyday New Yorkers, they want you. They see that blue uniform and that shield, and it becomes a symbol of our protection. And I know the naysayers are out there— some survey I heard broke my heart. 52 percent of Americans stated they would not defend this country if it’s attacked by a foreign enemy. Well, you know what? I’m part of the 48 percent. You are part of the 48 percent. We still wake up every day and say our pledge of allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which it stands, one nation under God, indivisible with liberty and justice for all. You are the difference between protecting that symbol and allowing that symbol to erode. You are not the best that New York has to offer, you are the best that America has to offer. This is where our symbol of freedom stands. The way New York goes, America goes.
When you stop terror, when you stop terrorism, when you stop gun violence, when you stop all the issues that are facing this city, it cascades across the entire country. When you put on that uniform, it’s representative of what America means. This is America’s city. And it breaks my heart for those who lived in other cities, those small town blues. New York is the place to be, and you are part of that New York symbol. And when you leave here today and you hit the streets, we want you going home not only from violence, but going home to your families. My brother and I served in this department. My mother did every tour of duty with us. Your moms, your spouses, your brothers, your sisters. Every time they hear of a police officer that’s attacked or shot, they hold their breath until they find the name of the person hoping that it’s not their loved one. And even then, they don’t exhale.
You mean everything to your partners and your colleagues that are in this job with you. Think about them each time you take action. This is a noble profession— nowhere else is it so important now. And yes, when Patty Lynch and I were rookies, it was a different city. Lawmakers were on your side, judges were on your side, prosecutors were on your side, the media was on your side. Everyone was on your side. That’s not the reality we’re in right now. You are under unprecedented scrutiny, but there’s a reason you’re called the finest.
Despite all the criticism, we’re going to stand up. I’ve joined the police commissioner in saying, “This is our city.” We’re going to take our city back one block at a time, one neighborhood at a time, and ensure that everyone in this city will live safe and prosper. This is your calling. You’re now members of the greatest police department the city and country has ever known. I congratulate you, and I respect what you’re doing. And as the mayor of the City of New York, it is my obligation to make sure you are safe and the people of this city are safe. We can do this together to provide the safety that we expect. God bless you, God bless your families, God bless this city, and God bless this country. Thank you very much.
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