Boston police academy graduates 70 new officers into local ranks; had responded to Marathon blasts

In front of a standing room-only crowd at the Local 103 IBEW Hall in Dorchester this morning, 70 graduates of the Boston police training academy took the oath of office and received the badges of their departments.

The graduates — 55 of whom will work for the Boston police and 15 of whom will work for departments in nearby towns — stood at attention in full dress uniform, raised their right hands, and vowed to protect their community as officers of the law.

“It is a rewarding career, it is a career you can be proud of,” said Boston Police Commissioner Edward F. Davis. “You are there in crisis and you are being asked to fix things, to put things right. That is incredible responsibility but it also gives you an opportunity to serve the community like no other.”

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This graduating class, which Davis said will forever be known as the Marathon class, experienced crisis firsthand when they were called out of the academy to assist at the sprawling crime scene on Boylston Street following the bombings that killed three people and injured more than 260 near the Boston Marathon finish line on April 15.

“They were called into action early,” Davis said. “It gives them experience that, luckily, not a lot of cities have. This group is well-prepared to go out on the street and we owe them a debt of gratitude for coming out early and helping out in the aftermath of the explosions.”

Among the 70 gradutes was Ryan M. Connolly, whose mother, Michelle, was injured in the April attack. As she stood outside Marathon Sports to watch her daughter cross the finish line, one of the two bombs exploded.

“I was hurt and was brought to a hospital, but because all the hospitals were on lockdown none of my family could come over,” Michelle Connolly said. “Ryan was a recruit and they ended up bringing him into the hospital so I had somebody with me. They brought him to me and that was a big help to me.”

Also among the graduates was Fabian J. Belgrave, who realized his dream of becoming a police officer with the help of Boston police detective Larry Ellison, a man Belgrave considers a second father.

“I always wanted to [be a police officer] but I didn’t know the correct steps to take. Growing up in the city is kind of hard, you don’t always have those good role models to look up to and point you in the right direction,” Belgrave, 23, said. “Luckily, I had Larry to tell to keep my nose clean and stay focused.”