Last year, even the most hardened New Yorker's heart melted a little after seeing a photograph of a NYPD police officer giving a pair of boots to a shoeless panhandler. The picture went viral and the officer, Lawrence DePrimo, was lauded for his generosity (and was featured in People magazine). Now, DePrimo has been promoted to detective.
DePrimo at the promotion ceremony (NYPD)
Jennifer Foster, a tourist from Arizona, took the picture and shared it with the NYPD last November, "The officer said, ‘I have these size 12 boots for you, they are all-weather. Let’s put them on and take care of you.’ The officer squatted down on the ground and proceeded to put socks and the new boots on this man. The officer expected NOTHING in return and did not know I was watching. I have been in law enforcement for 17 years. I was never so impressed in my life."
DePrimo had been with the 6th Precinct in Manhattan but is now a detective at Queens Warrant Squad. At the promotion ceremony, DePrimo told the Post that his office name tag says "Larry Boots DePrimo, Queens Warrant Squad." He added, "It’s a dream come true, this shield is one of the most coveted shields I think in the country, maybe even the world. I look down and it’s still unreal to me."
Among the other promotions were 95 other Detectives, plus numerous supervisory Sergeants, Inspectors, Deputy Inspectors, and Lieutenant Detective Commanders; the commanders of Manhattan’s Midtown South, Staten Island’s 120th Precinct and Spanish Harlem, the 23rd Precinct; and 25 civilians. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said, "At this time of year, when Americans gather to express our thanks for the blessings we enjoy, we reflect on the powerful contributions made by members of the NYPD to the cause of public safety. The results of your work can be seen in safer streets, an enhanced quality of life, and a better future for millions of New Yorkers."
As for the shoeless panhandler, it was discovered that he was not homeless but actually lives in an apartment in the Bronx.