Long Island officer no stranger to defying odds promoted at police ceremony

MINEOLA, Long Island (WABC) -- It was promotion day for a police department on Long Island as a group of officers were upgraded to the new rank of detective first grade.

The Nassau County Police Department's promotion ceremony in Mineola may have looked like many others, but it was actually the very first of its kind.

Among them, an officer lucky to have survived being injured by a drunk driver years ago.

Newly-promoted first grade detective Ken Baribault was proud to accept both the certificate and the new shield along with more than a dozen others who were promoted to first grade detective in-person Tuesday.

In fact, between all of them, 396 years on the job.

However, for Baribault, nearly 13 years of painful hard work and progress since a devastating injury that nearly took his life.

"His six year-old son grew up without playing catch with dad and doing all the things that we all do with our children," Commissioner Patrick Ryder said. "So we don't forget...those who pay that sacrifice."

It was May of 2008 when Baribault had pulled over a drunk driver on the Long Island Expressway, and moments later his cruiser was smashed by yet another drunk driver.

Baribault suffered a traumatic brain injury and a broken pelvis. He's been fighting to reclaim his life ever since.

Tuesday's promotions occurred because the union representing the detectives secured a new contract with the county. 30 of them can be promoted to first grade, within the next three years.

And while the dedication in the room runs deep, the department now has a new way to recognize its fallen or injured.

"God forbid you're in our shoes, you have that love and support," mother Patricia Baribault said. "That's what police family is."

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