NYPD promotions move forward despite coronavirus, with pared-down ceremony

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An auspicious moment for officers from the New York Police Department (NYPD) on Thursday was muted by the threat of coronavirus looming over the city.

Dozens of police officers wearing masks sat several feet apart from each other, sans family and friends to cheer them on, in a heavily altered ceremony at the College Point Police Academy.

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The ceremony honors officers reaching an elevated rank in the department, including detective, sergeant, lieutenant or inspector -- but the usual pomp of events was significantly pared down in an effort to contain the spread of coronavirus in a city that has seen the worst of the pandemic in the entire country.

The usual police band performances and video prelude were removed from the ceremony, and officers raised their right hand in an oath to the department, which was led by New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea via video link, doing away with the honor of shaking hands in person.

"Congratulations to all of today’s promotees -- well deserved!" Shea said on Twitter after the ceremony. "As we adjust to the new 'norm,' the ceremonies are small & socially-distanced, absent families & friends. Today they raise their right hands -- tomorrow they rejoin their colleagues on the front line, protecting NYC."

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The ceremony took place in three time slots every hour from 9 a.m. onward to adhere to social distancing rules.

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