Binghamton NY Oct 30 2014 For as far back as they can remember, the Hamilton brothers envisioned a career in law enforcement.
Part of it was the example set by their father, George Hamilton, a veteran New York State Trooper. The rest is a simple desire for community service.
On Tuesday, David and Kevin Hamilton, the youngest of the four siblings, will graduate from police academy training and join the ranks of the Binghamton Police Department. They'll follow their older twin brothers Mark, a Syracuse police officer, and Steven, a Pennsylvania state trooper.
The academy training was conducted through the Broome County Sheriff's Office. Tuesday's graduation ceremony includes 34 recruits from 10 agencies, and will take place at 3 p.m. at the Doubletree by Hilton in downtown Binghamton.
All four Hamilton brothers grew up in the Binghamton area. For the family, this is a proud moment — one that was many years in the making.
"It's totally their mindset," said mother, Linda Hamilton, of Chenango Bridge. "I definitely tried to instill in them a respect for others and teach that rules and laws are in place for a reason."
The brothers did not have much time to spend with their father, George Hamilton, a 25-year state trooper and longtime K-9 officer who served in Kirkwood and Whitney Point. He died at age 54 after a battle with cancer.
The elder Hamilton was a well-respected "old-school trooper" who was easy to get along with, said State Police Capt. Eric Janis, a trooper of 33 years.
"He was also always patient with the younger troopers who were just learning the job like me," Janis recalled.
David Hamilton, 21, of Binghamton, recently finished seven months of police academy training — with his father's example in the back of his mind.
"This community has been good to me, so I might as well try to keep my hometown the best it can be," he said.
During the academy David Hamilton attended with his 23-year-old brother, Kevin, of Binghamton, he learned an array of law enforcement skills ranging from firearms training to defensive tactics.
For new officers, the unpredictability of daily patrol can bring as much an excitement as it can lessons in raw reality.
In 27-year-old Mark Hamilton's first week on patrol as a Syracuse police officer in 2011, he was among the responders to a homicide scene.
Talking with family and loved ones is a good way for officers to cope with tragic situations they encounter during the course of the job, the Syracuse area resident said.
"There's a big difference of going from the classroom to the streets," he said. "After you've seen someone get hurt, you kind of realize you can easily get hurt as well."
When you're putting handcuffs on someone to make an arrest, there's often a struggle, said Kevin Hamilton, who has spent recent weeks shadowing a fellow Binghamton police officer on patrol.
His mindset of treating other people with respect — an attitude shared by his brothers — might be difficult at times, but it pays dividends, he said.
"It all comes down to how a police officer treats people," he said. "If you show respect ... you can get a thank you."
After two years as a Pennsylvania state trooper, Steven Hamilton has also learned as much. The 27-year-old man lives in Pennsylvania.
He's stationed with about 20 other troopers in Media, just outside of Philadelphia. The area has heavily traveled highways, so handling vehicle crashes ranks high on his weekly duty calls. Burglaries and retail thefts are also a frequent problem.
Outside of work, the Hamilton brothers enjoy outdoor hobbies such as fishing and hiking. But the law enforcement stories are what they always enjoy sharing with each other.
"I like being able to share stories of similar things we'd encounter and now we can relate on everything," Steven Hamilton said. "We're already pretty close, but now we get to talk about it even more."