May 30, 2017
By Silver Krieger
New York, NY – 152 Traffic Enforcement Agents received their certificates at a graduation ceremony held at 1 Police Plaza in downtown Manhattan on May 24th, 2017.
The newly-minted TEA’s, who have completed a 13-week course and are ready to join the team, were handed their framed degrees by Police Commissioner James O’Neill, to the cheers and applause of their colleagues, instructors, and attending family members. President Syed Rahim of Local 1182 was seated on the stage along with other officials to view the ceremony.
The ceremony began with a video that lauded the graduates, now members of Local 1182, as well as the NYPD, as vital in “securing our freedom,” and for being “dedicated, trained, and professional.” The video showed the agents on the job in a variety of situations, from directing traffic to assisting in emergencies. They were described as “the people who keep New York moving.”
The national anthem was sung by Police Officer Jason Martinoff, and an invocation was given by Reverend Jonathan Recabarren, Chaplain of the NYPD. He said, “On this day as we have our names spoken aloud, we are grateful for each agent and their families,” and said, “We pray for the safety of each agent,” and “we give thanks for your calling each agent to perform this extraordinary act.” Police Commissioner James O’Neill then gave remarks, introducing some levity to the occasion by saying that he wouldn’t start the proceedings until he saw all the graduates smile. He then said, “This is a great day…You’ve done it, you’ve made it.” He thanked all the graduates’ families for their support to the TEA’s. He then stressed how important it is for TEA’s to “learn to talk to the people” with which they will interact in their day-to-day duties, “in a friendly manner.” He welcomed the new grads to “the greatest police department in the world.” He also personally thanked a TEA in the audience, TEA Elfaki, who was at the site of the recent Times Square tragedy where a man drove into a crowd, and said he “ran toward, not away from, the problem.” “Welcome to the NYPD family!” he said to all.
The graduates then all filed up on the stage, where each one was personally award his or her certificate by the Commissioner. The Outstanding Company Sergeant Award was given to P.T.E.A. Isiah Mercury, Company #17-03. Valedictorian P.T.E.A. Jennika Evans, Company #17-02, then addressed the crowd, saying, “We are all approaching a new stage in our lives…we are prepared the represent the greatest police department…with courtesy, professionalism, and respect.” She thanked the trainers and instructors, and ended with “be careful, and be proud.”
A benediction was given by the Reverend Recabarren, and God Bless America was sung by P.O. Martinoff, with the graduates and attendees all joining in.