NEW YORK - After completing 29 weeks of rigorous training at the Suffolk County Police Academy, dozens of men and women are now officially Suffolk County police officers. Among them is Matias Ferreira, a Marine combat veteran. The 28-year-old is one of the country's first double-amputees to serve as a fully active police officer.
The machine-gunner spent close to a year in the hospital after stepping on a concealed 30-pound bomb in Afghanistan during a tour in 2011. The impact shattered his legs and broke his femur and pelvis. But giving up on his childhood dream was never an option.
Ferreira is married and the father of a 2-year-old girl. His peers elected him president of his cadet class.
Police Commissioner Timothy Sini called Ferreira a "tremendous human" with strength, skills, and leadership qualities. Add to the list a sense of humor. He jokes about his prosthetics being something positive. He said if he breaks his leg, he can just go to the trunk of his car and get a new one.
As Ferreira received his certificate, the audience and cadets at the ceremony showered him with applause and admiration. His family showed full support. His wife, Tiffany, said watching her husband achieve his dream was really special.
Officer Ferreira is scheduled to start patrolling Suffolk's first precinct next week.
Ferreira was born in Uruguay. He moved to the United States when he was 6 and grew up in Atlanta before joining the Marines.