New York, NY – 150 newly-minted Traffic Enforcement Agents graduated from a 14-week program on Monday, August 28th. The ceremony took place at 1 Police Plaza in lower Manhattan. Hundreds of friends and family of the graduates filled the auditorium, while officials and Local 1182 President Syed Rahim of the Traffic Enforcement Agents union, watched from the stage. The Police Jazz Band, made up of police officers, played songs from Sinatra to classical favorites while all waited for the event to begin.
Attendees first watched a video of TEA’s at work, where they were shown “facilitating the flow of people, vehicles and goods and services,” and “securing our freedom,” and were described as “dedicated, trained, and professional,” and “the people who keep New York moving.” This was followed by a segment dedicated to the NYPD, of which the TEA’s are a part, who was called, “Heroes, always heroes.”
The national anthem was then sung by Assoc. Traffic Supervisor Diahanna Brown, as all, stood, and Father George Anastasiou, Chaplain, Police Department delivered an invocation. He said, “We ask in a humble way that your blessings be bestowed on all those who graduate today…whose duties are in many ways perilous…Lift them up, protect them.”
First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin B. Tucker then delivered remarks. “On behalf of Police Commissioner O’Neill and Chief of Department Gomez I offer congratulations after your intensive training and exams…You will be on the front lines of public safety in New York…You will be responsible for protecting motorcyclists, bicyclists, and pedestrians…8.5 million New Yorkers will rely on you, and you will assist millions of commuters and tourists.” Tucker also spoke about the success of Vision Zero, and commended the Police Department for “its influence on TEA’s.” He also mentioned that the TEA job can be a stepping stone to being a police officer. All the graduates then filed up onto the stage, where they received a framed certificate and a handshake from Tucker.
Next, the Valedictorian address was given by P.T.E.A. Fedy Jay S. Galutera, Company #17-11. “For the past 13 weeks we’ve all dreamed about this moment,” he said. “We are now prepared to be part of the greatest police department in the world. Each of us has a different story of how we came here today, [but all] our lives have been enriched.” He encouraged the graduates to continue supporting each other in their new jobs, just as they did during training.
The ceremony concluded with a benediction by Anastasiou, asking for “patience, prudence and a most beautiful and fruitful career,” and the singing of “God Bless America.”