NEW YORK CITY — Police union president Patrick Lynch told a new class of a 1,000 NYPD officers this week that their single greatest mission will be to get close to the community they serve, DNAinfo New York has learned.
“The number one thing to be successful to the agency is to connect with the community,” Lynch told the class of new officers sitting “wide eyed” and clearly unnerved by last weekend’s assassination of two NYPD officers in a squad car in Bed-Stuy.
Lynch, a former community affairs officer from Brooklyn's 90th Precinct, attends all police graduations and events, including a session this week known as "gun and shield day," when officers receive their equipment.
This event was particularly poignant for Lynch, and not only because it was the first since the shooting — one of Lynch’s sons was in the class and about to join his brother on the force.
A source said Lynch’s speech, which was not public, centered on the importance of respecting the public, and getting to know the people they police.
“Even if they don’t speak like you, they see what you are doing when they go to work and they come home,” Lynch said. “And if you have to stop someone, the rest of the people will know you and understand, and that is how you become an effective officer.”
A source who was at the meeting told “On the Inside” that anxiety was etched into the faces of the new officers, considering the realities of the job they were undertaking.
“You can see the fear, and their eyes are wide,” the source said. “You can see they know they are facing a great unknown.”
Lynch, the president of the city's largest police union, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, and his counterparts, have agreed to not to speak publicly until slain officers Rafael Ramos and Wenjian Liu are buried.
Lynch blasted Mayor Bill de Blasio on Saturday, saying “there was blood on the steps of City Hall” because of what he described as the mayor's drumbeat of anti-police campaigning and for allowing recent protests in the wake of the Eric Garner grand jury decision to become increasingly lawless, with some demonstrators calling for the death of police.
For his part, the mayor has called for calm. He asked protesters to stand down until after the funerals, but demonstrators marched again Tuesday night in Manhattan.