Phila. police academy graduate carries on family legacy

NORTH PHILADELPHIA - January 17, 2014

"The importance of a badge number, the history behind it, it carries with you," said Gegory Kravitz.

It's that history within the Philadelphia Police Department, within his own family, that Kravitz will carry with him.

The son of an officer with 24 years on the force, Kravitz is a new graduate of the Philadelphia Police Academy.

The badge is pinned to his chest and the number is close to his heart.

"The family that had it before you, they're going to look at that number and want it to be respected and taken care of well," said Kravitz.

"My son is following in the footsteps of his father, taking badge number of his cousin who was killed in Iraq," said Denise Kravitz, mother.

The badge number belonged to his uncle, then his cousin Gennaro Pellegrini.

Pellegrini's National Guard unit was deployed to Iraq in 2004. He was killed when a landmine went off under his armored vehicle.

"I knew from then, if this ever went through, I was going to ask for that badge number," said Kravitz.

"It just means a lot to keep it in the family, and that Gregory thought enough of my brother and father to continue to carry the badge number," said Kim Pellegrini, cousin.

Temple University's Performing Arts Center was packed for the graduation.

The police commissioner spoke of the importance of an officer's badge and what it represents.

At Kravitz's request, they took number 3722 out of retirement. It will only ever be worn by members of Pellegrini's family.

"Today he is wearing the badge of his cousin, a true hero in this city and this department," said Commissioner Charles Ramsey, during the ceremony.

Given who wore this badge before him, Kravitz says he just wants to make his loved ones proud. His family says they already are.

"I'm proud. I'm real proud of him - always was," said Howard Kravitz, father.

"I think he will make my nephew Gerry very proud. He'll be watching from above and he'll be very proud of that badge," said Denise.

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