Beyond the call of duty: Double amputee walks the beat in Suffolk

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WEST BABYLON -

A Long Island war hero is walking the beat in Suffolk County on titanium legs as the police department's first double amputee. 

Officer Matias Ferreira is no stranger to putting his life on the line. The 28-year-old was deployed to Afghanistan in 2010. Just four months into his tour, his life changed forever. 

"We were doing a night mission and I stepped on a land mine and both my legs were gone on impact," he told News 12 Long Island

Extended interview with Officer Matias Ferreira

It was a nightmare for Ferreira and the end of a boyhood dream. Ferreira emigrated to the U.S. from Uruguay at age 6. 

"When I was a young kid, I saw a man in uniform who was in the Marine Corp and that image stuck in my head," says Ferreira. 

Ferreira planned on being in the service for life, but when he lost his legs, he was determined to come up with a new mission. That's when he set his sights on becoming one of Long Island's Finest.

What he didn't expect was special treatment in the police academy.

"If I was given something on a golden platter, I don't think it would've been fair. It's not who I am, it's not part of my personality," he says.

Ferreira went through the same exact training as the other 58 recruits and graduated as class president in March. 

Assigned to the 1st Precinct, he's making history as the department's first double amputee officer to be on full active duty. The wounded warrior-turned-Suffolk police officer hopes to inspire the community he serves.

"I think that a lot of people have dreams that they want to pursue and for some reason they don't. I think that's silly. I think we need to continue to follow those dreams and anything you put your mind to is possible," he tells News 12

Ferreira is also a member of the Wounded Warrior Amputee Softball Team, which travels the country to raise awareness about adaptive sports and inspire children with amputations.
 

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