A 28-year-old Marine graduated from Long Island’s Suffolk County Police Department Academy on Friday, just six years after losing both his legs in Afghanistan. Matias Ferreira became the first fully active duty double amputee officer in SCPD history after completing the 29-week academy. SCPD officials believe he is one of the first fully active double amputee officers in the nation.
The determined veteran refused any form of accommodations that were offered or suggested.
“Every time we said, ‘Is there anything else you need?’ The answer was always, ‘I’m OK sir. I don’t need anything,'” SCPD Lt. Steven Rohde told News12.
Ferreira lost both of his legs below the knees after stepping on an improvised explosive device (IED) while serving in Afghanistan in 2011. He was one of more than 40 military veterans in his graduating class, and his peers elected him class president for his exceptional achievements at the academy. His peers were inspired by his ability to complete “all the rigorous challenges of the SCPD’s 29-week academy training,” without accommodations. He will be speaking at the graduation ceremony this upcoming weekend.
The former Marine is the ideal candidate for the position. His peers and superiors described him as friendly, focused and intelligent. The Uruguay-born American service member is bilingual and has an impressive athletic resume. After losing his legs, Ferreira traveled the country as part of an all-amputee softball comprised of former police officers and veterans.
Ferreira has dreamed of being a police officer ever since immigrating to the United States when he was six-years-old. He joined the military as a way to pursue his dream and refused to let his injury crush his dreams.
“I don’t think you should ever give up on your dreams because of an injury you’re born with or sustained later in life,” said Ferreria. “I think if you want something bad enough, you’ll eventually get it.”
He will begin working as a full time officer next week.