Matias Ferreira made history on Friday when he was sworn in as a cop in the Long Island, New York, area.
In the ceremony, the ex-U.S. Marine combat veteran graduated the Suffolk County Police Academy and is now perhaps the only double-amputee in the entire country to serve as an active patrol officer.
Wile attending the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta as a child, Ferreira apparently became enamored of the cops and soldiers on the scene and informed his family that he wanted to join the military or go into law enforcement. It turns out that he did both, scoring 100 on the civil service entrance exam given the extra credit for his tour of duty in the Marines.
While deployed to Afghanistan in 2011, Lance Corporal Ferreira lost his legs below the knees in an IED explosion.
“The plan was to stay a Marine for life — until he lost his legs and had to come up with a new plan to serve,” CBS News observed.
Ferreira, who uses prosthetic titanium legs, was elected president of his 80-member police academy class in the 29-week training session, during which he never requested any special accommodations.
“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,” Fox5 explained about the history-making and inspirational achievement.
Watch an interview with Officer Matias Ferreira on Fox & Friends during which he discusses his military experience, including his January 2011 injury, and his dream of becoming a police officer.
He will begin his policing duties this week in the Babylon, Long Island, New York, area.
The U.S. Marine vet, 28, spent about a year in the hospital after stepping on a 30-pound Taliban bomb.
The new cop came to America with his family at age six. “Ferreira, who is fluent in Spanish, was born in Uruguay. His family moved to the Atlanta area when he was a child to pursue ‘the American dream,’ he said,” Newsday reported.
“The hand we’re dealt in life, we just have to take it, adapt and overcome so that’s what I figured I would do,” he told ABC News. As alluded to above, Ferreira is married and the father of a two-year-old daughter.
“I was given a second chance,. Not many people survive an IED blast like I did. I don’t want to be one of the guys who just kind of gives up on themselves,” he told Newsday about his graduation from the police academy.
Ferreira has also joked that should he break a leg while on duty, he can just get a new one from the trunk of his police cruiser and go back on the job.
Suffolk County Police Commissioner Timothy Sini praised the new recruit.
“This is someone who served our nation, paid a significant sacrifice, and is now able to overcome adversity in a tremendous way. He’s done a terrific job as a recruit in the academy, both physically, academically and in his leadership to the other recruits, and he’s going to make a fine officer.”
Back in October 2015, Ferreira saved a baby who was trapped in a car wreck in the New York City borough of Queens.
Officer Ferreira previously played on an all-amputee softball team which traveled the country.
“The wounded warrior is now a cop — and he’ll be walking the beat on titanium legs,” AP noted about U.S Marine Matias Ferreira, who graduated the police academy and was sworn in as a cop after seven months of rigorous law enforcement training.
[Featured Image by Andres Kudacki/AP Images]