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Graduates of the 120th Basic Police Officer Training Class were urged to be more than just enforcers of the law Friday during a standing-room-only ceremony in Canisius College’s Montante Cultural Center, where they were awarded their police badges.

“In reality, enforcing the law is only a small part of what you will be doing. You will be called upon in the middle of the night to search for a missing child; you will be the first to arrive at the scene of medical emergencies; you will respond to traffic accidents; and in some cases, you will be a compassionate ear to someone who has no one else to turn to and just needs you to listen,” Buffalo Police Commissioner Daniel Derenda said.

He also reminded his department’s 32 newest officers, and the dozens of other new officers who will serve with suburban and state law enforcement agencies, that they should always treat members of the public with dignity.

“Twenty-six years ago when I started, I remember a veteran officer telling me that I should always treat people as I would want to be treated or as I would want my family to be treated. It was good advice that I have followed throughout my career, and it is advice I hope you will follow,” Derenda said.

Mayor Byron W. Brown told the new officers that their badges and duties “represent a sacred trust” that society has placed in them, adding that the work of police requires “responsibility, courage and intelligence.”

The ceremony started off on a spiritual note with the Rev. David I. Richards offering an invocation. It was special because his late father, Daniel J. Richards, was a Buffalo police officer, and his uncle, Dennis J. Richards, currently serves as the department’s chief of detectives. Another uncle, David J. Richards, is a retired state trooper.

email: lmichel@buffnews.com