His NYPD officer father was infamously shot in the throat 24 years ago by a brazen teenager, and today Conor McDonald continued his family's legacy of service.
"I'm excited," said McDonald, 24 -- the son of paralyzed detective Steven McDonald -- who becomes the fourth generation of the McDonald family to wear the blue.
"The city of New York did a lot of great things for my family in 1986 when my father was shot," said Conor, a Boston College graduate. "And I felt compelled to serve and protect."
Steven McDonald was left a paraplegic and dependent on a ventilator, after 15-year-old Shavon Jones shot him in Central Park. McDonald forgave Jones, who died in a motorcyle accident shortly after being released from prison. When he was shot, McDonald's wife Patty was pregnant with their first child, Conor.
Now, Conor part of the latest Police Academy class of 1,200 sworn in today by Mayor Bloomberg at York Community College.
Conor said he's happy that his dad and family are proud of his choice -- but admitted that they are also worried about his safety.
"I wouldn't lie to you, I'd say yes, they are [concerned]," he said. "It's a dangerous world out there, a lot of things can happen. I'm going to do my best to protect the people of New York, protect my partners and myself and get home in one piece."
"I want to do my best to protect and serve the people that helped give my family a second life."
Police brass also singled out other graduating cadets, including the son of an Emergency Service Unit police officer who was killed on September 11, 2001, and an Iraqi War Veteran who earned the Purple Heart when he was wounded by a car bomb in a deadly attack in Mosul.
"I had shrapnel to the right side of my body, which went in my head, face and my Achilles was injured," said Christopher Galvez, 30, who served in Iraq from 2004 to 2005. It took him a month to recover but he was able to finish his tour.
"I just wanted to continue to serve," he said about joining the NYPD. "And I think that there was no other department besides New York" that would allow him to reach his potential.
It was while studying at Boston University that Barry Driscoll realized that he wanted to follow in the path of his late father, Stephen, one of 23 NYPD officers who perished at the World Trade Center.
"I'm just happy to have the opportunity to serve my city the way my father did," said Driscoll, 24. "My family is absolutely concerned about my safety, but all the familes of all the cadets out there are probably in the same set."