Disabled Marine veteran realizes dream to become NY police officer

(WCBS/CNN) — A military vet in Long Island is fulfilling his dream despite a serious injury during his service.

Matias Ferreira lost both of his legs while fighting in Afghanistan, but that couldn’t stop him from making history Friday.

It’s been a long tough road for every one of these Suffolk County police recruits, but for the 28-year-old Ferreira, it was a little rockier. In 2011, as a U.S. marine in Afghanistan, he lost both legs below the knees after stepping on an IED. After getting prosthetic legs, Ferreira played on an all-amputee softball team.

“Our motto is life without limbs is limitless,” he said. “We’re able to do things that we use to do and more.”

The team traveled the country, and during one of those trips, Ferreira met his wife Tiffany, who tells me she was immediately attracted to his strong spirit. But when he decided to become a police officer, she said “could you just choose something safe now, please? We love him and we’re really excited for him and this awesome achievement.”

Ferreira is believed to be the first fully active duty double amputee police officer in the country. He was born in Uruguay and his family came to the U.S. when he was 6 years old. His mother says even before he was a Marine, he dreamed of being a police officer.

Now Ferreira’s graduating class is full of heroes — out of 80 recruits, more than 70 percent are military veterans and more than 30 percent have previous law enforcement experience. His fellow recruits elected him class president.

Officer Ferreira will be on the beat starting this week. He will have no restrictions on the job.

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