After 29 weeks of training, Officer Matias Ferreira is celebrating a dream come true.
The 28-year-old former Marine, who lost both legs below the knees after stepping on a bomb in Afghanistan, just graduated from the Suffolk County Police Academy as its first fully active-duty double-amputee police officer. The academy said it believed that Ferreira was also the first in the U.S. as well. His first assignment will be as a precinct patrol officer.
“It’s pretty incredible,” Ferreira said following the graduation ceremony. “I’m truly honored to be part of the department. When I first got on, I didn’t know how good I would do — maybe having some self-doubts in the beginning — but I had a very supportive staff, very supportive recruit class. Everybody kept pushing me through.”
He credited his wife, Tiffany; his daughter, Tianna; and his support system of friends and family with helping him reach the finish line.
More than 40 members of Ferreira’s graduating class are also military veterans. His fellow newly minted officers voted him their class president as well as the class speaker.
“To watch my husband achieve his dream that I think most people would thing wasn’t even possible is really special,” said Tiffany Ferreira.
Ferreira, who grew up in Atlanta, Georgia, was born in Uruguay and moved to the U.S. when he was 6 years old.
“I’m just really eager and excited to prove myself to my colleagues in my new job, my new career, that I’m capable of doing the job just as well as somebody with both legs,” Ferreira said. “I don’t think the prosthetics hinder me in any way.” “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 said.