By Joe Kemp New York Daily News
This new cop wears a true badge of honor.
Officer Erin Coughlin was given the shield number of her late father — a veteran NYPD cop killed at the World Trade Center on 9/11 — when she graduated from the Police Academy on Friday along with 1,158 other recruits.
Coughlin, 27, said taking the oath during the Academy’s graduation ceremony at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn was a dream come true. “It’s an absolute honor,” she said. “I had goosebumps the entire ceremony.”
Her father, Sgt. John Coughlin, an 18-year department veteran who served with the Emergency Services Unit, died trying to save people from the twin towers on 9/11. His daughter, who is one of three, said she was proud to continue the heroic cop’s legacy by wearing his badge No. 3751 on her chest.
“I know he was looking down and was proud of me,” she said. “It was kind of surreal that here I am standing here taking the same oath he did almost 30 years ago.”
Coughlin said that she took the Police Academy test three years ago. She had previously been pursuing a teaching career, but had trouble landing a steady job. It was then that she began to notice NYPD advertisements for recruits.
“Little by little, I think (my father) was sending me signs that I should probably take the test,” she recalled. “And now, here I am!”
Her mother, Patty Coughlin, said she was thrilled to see her daughter follow her husband onto the force. “It’s an amazing day,” the proud mother said. “I am very proud of her. She worked very hard for it.”
Joining Coughlin in the graduating class was the son of Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch, who made his first collar during his time as a recruit. Patrick Lynch Jr., 21, was driving home from the academy with three fellow recruits on September 13 when they spotted a man beating another man on a Queens street.
The recruits put a stop to the assault, and Lynch helped slap handcuffs on the suspect as another called for backup.
“It was an exemplary display of teamwork and professionalism,” NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
“It’s something I always wanted to do my entire life,” said the younger Lynch. “To be able to share that with my father made it one of the proudest days of my life.”
“It is a very special moment,” added the elder Lynch. “And he already made an arrest before he was out of the academy, so he’s off to a good start.”