Joel Witriol had a big smile on his big day. The officer was promoted to the rank of sergeant on Friday, NY1 reports.
“It’s a good job. Just take it,” Witriol said.
That’s what he did back in 2006. At that point, the New York City Police Department says he was the first Chassidishe officer.
“I was a little surprised about it, but it’s a good thing, hopefully, to have more followers, bringing the community into it,” Witriol said.
The department has plenty of officers who are Jewish, but just a handful are members of the Chassidishe community. That includes Witriol’s brother, who didn’t want to appear on camera.
Their parents are proud their sons are a part of the NYPD family, although they know it is a dangerous job.
“If they are going to be late, they let us know because my wife is a very nervous lady. She just wants to make sure they come home safe,” said Louis Witriol, their father. “It’s a little work, but it’s OK.”
During his work as a police officer with the transit bureau in Brooklyn, Joel Witriol sometimes worked undercover. Well, sort of. He dressed in his religious clothing to catch fare-beaters and people committing other crimes.
“Every day is a different day,” he said. “Different people, different things happening. Getting involved with a lot of stuff you never thought you were going to get involved.”
Joel Witriol started as an auxiliary officer in 2003 and said he realized joining the police department full-time would change his life for the better. He said he hasn’t any issues with the NYPD because of his religion.
During official ceremonies, he wears his payess side curls tucked behind his ears, which he proudly did as he was promoted to sergeant. He’s now headed to work at the 13th Precinct in Manhattan.