Dina Loor knows the dangers of police work all too personally — her detective husband was stabbed in the head and nearly killed on duty last year. But on Friday, she took her place among the nearly 1,200 new officers being sworn in.
With her still-recovering husband by her side, Loor smiled as she spoke afterward about achieving a longtime goal of joining the force. She said she first applied three years ago, before her husband was attacked while responding to a call about an emotionally disturbed man in April 2012. The man plunged a switch blade into then-Officer Eder Loor's head, fracturing his skull and hitting his brain. He was promoted to detective in March.
Dina Loor said the attack made her think about her own plans to join the police, but it didn't deter her.
"We can't live in fear, and that's something I have learned. You have to continue and succeed in life," she said after Friday's ceremony at Madison Square Garden.
It was the last police academy graduation presided over by Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly, who have steered the city's approach to public safety together for 12 years; Kelly also was police commissioner from 1992 to 1994, under Mayor David Dinkins.
During the Bloomberg-Kelly years, crime has dropped to record lows as police also helped beat back the threat of terror that loomed over the city after 9/11. Some ethnic and religious minorities have complained that some of the NYPD's crime-fighting and anti-terror techniques have compromised civil liberties; Kelly and Bloomberg have said the tactics are legal and necessary and have made the city safer.
The 1,171 graduates include immigrants from 45 different countries, about 90 military veterans, about 460 people with college degrees and a few dozen with law or other advanced degrees.
Although minorities made up a slight majority of the last academy graduates, in July, this class is 56 percent white. It roughly mirrors last December's class.
Overall, the department has become more diverse in the last 12 years. Now, nearly half of officers are minorities, as are most city residents.
"We're proud that, in a place that's home to people of every background, every faith, every outlook and every orientation, we have police officers who reflect our city's diversity," Bloomberg said.
Bloomberg leaves office Dec. 31, and Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has tapped former police commissioner William Bratton to return as the city's top cop. Kelly is set to give speeches and be a visiting fellow with the Council on Foreign Relations.
As he looked out at the new officers Friday, he reflected on his own police academy graduation 47 years before.
"I've never regretted" becoming a police officer, he said afterward. "It's been a wonderful opportunity for me."