Rochester police recruits graduate from academy, prepare for patrolling streets

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. “From starting the whole process, to actually being out here, sometimes I still can’t believe it’s actually real,” Officer Vincent Diponzio said, two weeks into his new role as a Rochester Police Officer.

Some Rochester police recruits now wear a badge. Three young men, who graduated from police exam prep last November, are now patrolling the city.

News10NBC’s Stephanie Duprey was there for their graduation almost a year ago now. She caught up with them two weeks into the job.

New role, new title. Officer Beraldi Torres, Officer Fernando Rivera, and Officer Vincent Diponzio now walk their city streets in a different way.

Diponzio has been out in the field on his own for two weeks now. For the last several months all three officers were doing “FTO,” which stands for “field training officers,” before patrolling the streets alone.

“You get a car and you just go, and you go to the jobs you get assigned to in your beat,” Diponzio said. “So at first it’s a lot to adjust to being on your own, not having someone in the passenger seat with you.”

We met these three back in November when they graduated police academy. I asked Rivera why he wanted to be a police officer, and he said to protect his community. A year later, that’s exactly what he’s doing.

“I happened to be lucky enough to get Clinton section, which is the section I grew up in,” Rivera said. “I feel like I’ve already made a difference because when people see me, I alleviate a lot of pressure and there aren’t a lot of Spanish-speaking officers out there. I’ve been able to translate and bridge the gap.”

Torres says it’s fulfilling to be able to physically affect the change he once dreamed of for his community.

“I grew up on the east side,” Torres added. “Right now I patrol the west side. Regardless I have family on the west side. Just being able to get back into the community and patrol the streets, you get to talk to people and you get to talk to business owners and hear their stories.”

Officer Rivera says he has little more time to do training before he gets into the field on his own. They told me they went into training perfect strangers and came out brothers.