“You guys are phenomenal. I want you guys to know that you’re the future,” Captain John Portalatin, the commanding officer of the 111th Precinct, told a group of youngsters at a Sept. 2 event commemorating the completion of their time at the NYPD’s GetFit Camp.
After spending three hours each Tuesday and Thursday from July 7 through August 20 training with officers from the 111th Precinct, the honorees were awarded certificates and a few kind words.
The initiative, implemented by various precincts throughout the city, was created to introduce regular exercise to children aged 10 to 16 in a fun and social way. Participants in the 111th Precinct group played plenty of basketball, soccer and softball under the leadership of 111th Youth Coordinator Officer Michael Cillis. The group also learned and practiced plenty of taekwondo from martial arts master and 111th Officer Daniel Foran.
For Justin Huang, a rising high school freshman, the program not only provided a chance to connect with friends during the summer, but helped him get into shape ahead of football tryouts.
“During Fit Camp, with the assistance of all the associated police officers, I was able to practice my already existing skills and combine them with new techniques and drills to be on the top of my game,” he said at the ceremony. “I plan to use these newfound skills to propel myself forward towards a successful high school football career.”
After congratulating the participants on completing their summer training, Portalatin took the opportunity to thank the community for trusting the police with their children at a time when the NYPD has fallen under increased scrutiny and criticism.
“Not everything in the media is true. We’re not the bad guys, we’re the good guys. Always have been, always will be,” he said. “And everything you hear out there, a lot of the officers and what we do, is not true, alright? I can show you an example right here: my officers here. They take the whole time, each and every day, time away from their own families to come here and spend time with you guys, to get to know you. We appreciate everything you do and all the love and support you guys give us each and every day, which makes it very easy to come to work and enjoy the responsibilities each and every day ... My heart to your heart, my house to your house. I love you guys.”