After 23 years of service in Army, soldier fulfills dream of becoming NYPD officer

A 43-year-old Army veteran recently became one of the newest members of the New York Police Department.

Donovan Bunch retired from the Army after 23 years of service and decided to fulfil an old dream by joining the NYPD.

According to the New York Post, Branch was inspired to join the NYPD by Deputy Inspector Justin Lenz, whom he befriended while serving in Iraq. Bunch was also assigned the same shield number Lenz wore when he first became a police officer.

“We’ve been friends for a long time, and carrying on the shield number, I related it to everything he had told me about his career,” said Bunch. “It was just an honor for me to wear it on my chest.”

Lenz and Bunch met in 2003, when Lenz was assigned to prepare 23 NYPD police officers for deployment to Iraq, to train Iraqi police officers and oversee police operations in the country.


Bunch was deployed to Iraq with the police officers and spent a year learning from them as they tried to get the 35 police stations in Iraq’s Babil province up to the expected standard.

Lenz, who was already an experienced cop when he joined the Army, took Bunch under his wing when they served together in Iraq. He is now the commanding officer of the 101st Precinct in Far Rockaway.

“We just became friends throughout that time, and that’s how the relationship got started,” Lenz said.

According to Bunch, he developed an interest in becoming a police officer after hearing the NYPD officers he was deployed with telling stories about their days patrolling the streets of New York’s five boroughs.

“I remember in Iraq just coming back from patrol at nights, sitting around with nothing to do and listening to Inspector Lenz,” Bunch said. “I was just intrigued by the stories he would tell.”

“It’s just something that stayed with me throughout the years,” he added. “So when I had the opportunity to become a cop, I took it.”

After his retirement from the Army, Bunch decided to move his family from Mississippi to New York and join the NYPD.

“As a soldier in the army, as much as I loved my career after my time served, I felt it was time for me to move on,” Bunch said. “I had this opportunity and, to be honest with you; I can’t believe I’m here.”

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