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MassCops Angel
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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
By Rocco Parascandola
Newsday

NEW YORK - Osvaldo Hernandez served his country in Afghanistan, but before that, he served time for gun possession, a conviction that bars him from becoming a police officer - unless the NYPD has a change of heart.
Perhaps as soon as today, Hernandez's lawyer will file a motion in State Supreme Court in Queens seeking "relief from civil disabilities," a document that allows felons to vote and is also supposed to allow them to obtain certain licenses and get certain jobs.
The NYPD has said a felony conviction is "an absolute bar" that would keep Hernandez, 26, from joining the nation's largest police force.
Yesterday, however, Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne, the NYPD's top spokesman, said it wasn't clear if the measure Hernandez is seeking would allow the department to hire him.
Hernandez has proved beyond any doubt that he has straightened out his act, said his lawyer, James Harmon, a former Manhattan assistant district attorney.
"He was a top-of-the-line soldier," Harmon said. "His commanding officer backs him up. I was a prosecutor and an air ranger in Vietnam. I can appreciate what he did in Afghanistan. I appreciate what police officers do.
"This guy would make an excellent police officer."
Hernandez ran afoul of the law in 2002 when plainclothes officers pulled over his Nissan in Richmond Hill, Queens, and found a .380 pistol under the driver's seat.
Hernandez pleaded guilty to weapons possession and was sentenced to a year in jail. A year later, Hernandez, determined to turn his life around, was granted an enlistment waiver from the Army.
Hernandez, who held the rank of specialist, served in Afghanistan as a paratrooper in the 82nd Airborne Division. He was honorably discharged in June after a 15-month combat tour.
Hernandez, who is from Corona and still lives in Queens, could not be reached yesterday to comment, and Harmon said he didn't want to make the aspiring police officer available while the case is in court.
He said Hernandez passed the NYPD physical exam, scored high on the written exam and wants to serve the city.
"He's got the highest respect for police officers," Harmon said.
Harmon was involved in the investigation into a 1972 Harlem mosque shooting, in which Officer Phil Cardillo was killed. Randy Jurgensen, a former officer who responded to the shooting and spent years investigating it, explored Hernandez's background for Harmon.
"I truly believe, given what he has done, that he deserves a chance," Jurgensen said.

Wire Service
 

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Czar of Cyncism and Satire
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2,070 Posts
Convictions of some crimes shouldn't bar somebody from becoming a cop, but carrying a F/A under your front seat, then pleading guilty to it, is and should definately be a disqualifying factor. Sorry Osvaldo, I thank you for your service to your country, but you should not be able to join the thin blue line.
 

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MassCops Angel
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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
N.Y. judge helping barred vet to become cop

By Rocco Parascandola
Newsday

NEW YORK - Spc. Osvaldo Hernandez - the U.S. Army paratrooper trying to join the New York Police Department despite a felony record - moved one step closer yesterday to his goal when a Queens judge granted him relief from civil disabilities, a step that helps ex-convicts work their way back into society.
"I love public service," Hernandez, 26, said outside court after getting the good news. "To me the best feeling in the world is helping people in need. I served my country. Now I want to serve the community. I just want to give back."
The NYPD had no comment yesterday. Ultimately, the decision to hire Hernandez would rest with Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.
Hernandez, a Corona native, was 20 when he served eight months in jail in 2002 for gun possession. He said then he felt he needed a weapon for protection.
Since then, he has straightened his life out - by his own account and the words of others, including his lawyer, a retired detective working on his behalf and his Army superiors.
He served a 15-month combat tour in Afghanistan and upon his honorable discharge in June, he applied to the NYPD. But convicted felons can't carry weapons in New York State, an obvious job requirement for a police officer.
Hernandez, though, obtained a certificate from the state Board of Parole allowing him to be armed, and Justice Barry Kron yesterday granted him a relief from civil disabilities - allowing him to vote, obtain certain licenses and, at least in theory, get hired by companies hesitant to employ someone with a criminal record.
"We all make stupid mistakes when we're young," Kron said in court. "Mr. Hernandez made one. He paid his price."
Earlier, Hernandez's lawyer, James Harmon, retired Det. Randy Jurgensen, and Assistant District Attorney Robert Masters vouched for Hernandez's good character.
Hernandez, dressed in his military uniform, himself read aloud from a prepared statement in which he asked for his rights back "so that I can continue to advance in life, and accomplish my goals."
"I do not want to be deprived of the opportunity to further serve my community," he said.

Wire Service
 
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