BOSTON (MyFoxBoston.com) – Seventy new officers graduated from the Boston Police Academy Tuesday and this was no ordinary graduating class.
The recruits from Class 5213 are known as the Marathon Class called upon to secure crime scenes and collect evidence around the Boston Marathon bombing sites.
"It's very unusual for us to activate a class prior to graduation, but in light of what happened April 15 this class was pulled out of the police academy and sent out into the streets," Boston Police Commissioner Ed Davis said.
Ryan Connolly, who is carrying the class flag, had a sister running the marathon while he was also in training.
"I was concerned about my sister running…then wait a minute, my family was there too," Connolly said remembering the day.
Ryan Connolly's mother Michelle was injured at the finish line.
"I sustained a severe concussion and shrapnel that went in here, into my eye and everything," Michelle Connolly said. She was in a hospital which was in lockdown, but police arranged for Ryan to see his mother.
"It was just so good to see him and know he was, you know, with me," Michelle Connolly said.
"We were lucky, very lucky. Other families aren't as lucky as we are. Seeing my mother, knowing she was okay, again I gotta' thank the academy for letting me see her," Ryan Connolly said.
The Marathon Class stepped up when called upon. Aside from their duties, the recruits donated blood and raised thousands of dollars for three different charities.
The once-recruits walked across the stage one-by-one and had their police badges pinned to their now blue uniforms. Officer Connolly's badge was pinned on by his 4-year-old daughter.
The graduation has helped Michelle Connolly heal and move forward.
"It's just another part of the healing, seeing my son get pinned," she said.
The Marathon Class got a glimpse of why they initially chose to earn their badges and will never forget April 15.
"I think all of that shows and you're gonna' get a really good group of police officer out on the street," Ryan Connolly added.
The graduation was also a bittersweet moment for Boston Mayor Tom Menino. It was his last time helping graduate a class from the academy. He's helped graduate 68 percent of the entire Boston Police Department. He was also presented with a plaque and painting at the graduation.
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