New York State Police hold graduation
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ALBANY, N.Y. -- "It's what I've always wanted to do," said 31-year-old Brendan Filli of Valatie.
He signed up to become a New York State Trooper in 2008. Now, he's a part of the newest graduating class. It's the first since 2009.
"Well worth the wait," he said.
Cuts to the state budget forced the State Police to stop recruiting three years ago. It was the first time Governor Andrew Cuomo said New York had gone without a class since the seventies.
"We're not out of the woods yet, right, in terms of economic issues. So we have a deficit next year, we're doing the best we can, but at least the arrow is pointed in the right direction," said the Governor.
"I'm optimistic about the future of this class. Thirty-four of you have prior police experience, nearly one-third prior military experience and some of you have already been called into action. I'm confident you're well prepared," said New York State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico as he addressed the graduates.
He believed they're well-prepared to provide reinforcements to an agency that at its peak had nearly 4,900 sworn officers. Now, that number is down by about 400.
"This is super important. We've gone almost four years without an academy class. So you know, people continue to retire. The troopers who are out there in the field are working so much harder, our investigators, civilians, everybody's picking up the slack. And I give them credit for that," said the Superintendent.
D'Amico said there are plans to have a new class enter the academy by the end of the year. As for next year, he said, that's still to be determined.