New York’s more than 5,000 traffic enforcement agents got 112 new additions in December.
The 112, who completed the Police Department’s 15-week training course to be Level I agents, received diplomas from Police Commissioner William J. Bratton Dec. 14 in a ceremony at One Police Plaza.
“We congratulate our new agents and welcome them to the job,” said Local 1182 President Syed A. Rahim.
The new-uniformed graduates, wearing white gloves and crisp white caps, sat in the auditorium’s center section. Family members sat on the sides, flashing photos on cell phones—a mother holding silver Mylar helium balloons, women with elaborate constructions of curls and braids, Sikh men in turbans, and dressed-up preteen boys sneaking peeks at video games.
Commissioner Bratton called traffic agents an essential part of the department, noting their new role in investigating traffic accidents. He praised them for ensuring that the city’s traffic flows smoothly and for coming to work on the city’s streets “in the worst of weather—that’s when we absolutely need you to work.”
“We are now prepared to represent the greatest police department in the world,” valedictorian Hany S. Shonoda, a gold rope over his left shoulder, told the new agents.
The 15-week course teaches aspiring agents “how to write parking summonses, movers, and direct traffic,” says Stephanie Bethea, supervisor of the Police Academy’s traffic-enforcement-agent recruit training. They do role-playing exercises to learn how to interact with the public, adds Traffic Supervisor I Annette People, and practice scanning license plates with the department’s electronic Parking Tickets Device, though they’re “not issuing live tickets.”
New agent Auria Adams of Manhattan seemed surprised by the “paramilitary” aspect of the training, but says “it was a good experience.” She learned traffic laws, how to run an intersection, and “courtesy, professionalism, respect—how to treat people.” Adams, 36 and the mother of a 6-year-old son, had been working as a hospital telecommunications supervisor, but was attracted by the security of a city job and the prestige of working for the NYPD.
Was she looking forward to the next morning, when she’d go out on the street for the first time? “Yes, I am,” she says. “On to the next stage of my career.”