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For the more than 1,500 officers who graduated from the academy last week, Tuesday’s panel-led discussion was the last bit of required curriculum before they hit the streets for their first assignment: securing Times Square during New Year’s Eve festivities.
“I think it’s phenomenal that they’re doing this program. I just want to represent my community and my department,” said Officer Kevin Brabazon, 29, who grew up in Harlem, the child of a white father and a black mother. “I’ve seen some good officers; I’ve seen some not-so-good officers, and I’ve learned from both.”
For panel members, including the Rev. Al Sharpton and city Housing Authority board member Margarita Lopez, it was an opportunity to talk with the newest Finest about ways to improve the NYPD’s relationship with the community. Sharpton said most people are not “anti-police” but rather “anti-police misconduct, anti-police brutality.”
The panel — which was moderated by radio personality Mike Riley — grazed over a handful of subjects that included stop-and-frisk procedures, respect for civilians and abuse of power.