She was a commish for a day!
Recent graduate of Bishop Kearney High School and Bensonhurst resident Jenna Fiordimondo snagged the title of Police Commissioner for a Day thanks to the winning essay she submitted to a competition run by the Police Athletic League.
Fiordimondo, who had been dreaming of winning the award for years, finally got her wish.
Some 2,000 students from around the five boroughs apply, which made the honor extra special for the Kearney grad as she received the award at police headquarters, and spent the day with NYPD Police Commissioner James O’Neill on Wednesday, June 7.
“After learning more about the NYPD and all that they do, I really became determined to hopefully one day shadow the police commissioner,” said the 17-year-old Bensonhurst resident. “My favorite television show is ‘Blue Bloods.’ It’s really helped me appreciate all that the officers do every day and I really wanted a behind -the-scenes look at the police commissioner’s job and his crazy schedule. Since freshman year, I would write the essay in hopes I would win and this year, I got lucky.”
The essay was about what the police commissioner can do to help prevent drug use among teens. “My main goal would be to use the school curriculum against drug use, as well as group meetings and peer groups and visits from special guests whose lives have been harmed by drug use, to serve as a wake-up call to students,” she said. “At my school, we had an assembly where guests came who had been under the influence and got into car accidents and harmed another person. Their lives were changed by their experiences.”
When Fiordimondo found out that her dream had come true, she was ecstatic, as were her teachers and family. “I was at school and my English teacher came up to me and said there are people downstairs to see you. I had no idea what it was about,” she recalled. “I went downstairs to the office and there were about 10 police officers waiting for me to tell me the good news and I was so excited.”
Once it was time to celebrate her accomplishment with O’Neill and tell her story, Fiordimondo was scared but excited. “Early in the morning, we were picked up by a police officer. I was very nervous, but she really made me feel welcome. We drove to 1 Police Plaza where the ceremony was held and they escorted us to the 14th floor to meet with the commissioner,” she said. “He told us about his day and what it looks like, how busy he is. I got to sit behind his big desk and he gave me his hat and a special badge to hold. It was great.”
Then came the award ceremony, where she received a plaque. “I got to read my essay in front of everybody. I was a little nervous but it was a good type of nerves,” she said. “Then we got to have lunch with the commissioner and he showed us the command center.”
Fiordimondo is planning to attend St. John’s University and thanks her role models — including her parents and influential teachers — for her great success. “It took me so many hours to write the essay but after I was done, I brought it to my English teacher who I’ve had for three years. She’s been a big influence and got me interested in writing.”
Throughout the day, Fiordimondo gained a greater appreciation for what police officers do day in and day out. “He helped me appreciate the NYPD even more because of all they do to keep us safe every day,” she said. “They make such a difference. He works from 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. and even though it’s his job, you couldn’t tell because he loves what he does so much and he talks with such pride about how he cares about the safety of all New Yorkers.”