NEW YORK (PIX11) — Deputy Inspector Ralph Clement has been with the NYPD for 17 years and has broken barriers along the way, including becoming the first commanding officer of color at Manhattan’s 9th Precinct — but it was no easy task.

“I came as a dreamer, no papers, no green card — worked in a sweatshop to pay off my debt and went to high school,” Clement said.

The Guyanese-American, whose ancestors are from India, is one of New York City’s finest and holds a master’s degree in criminal justice. “I always keep myself grounded from my humble beginnings,” Clement said.

Still, last month is when he had the ultimate honor. Beaming with pride, the 44-year-old pinned his son, David, as officer Clement.

“It feels amazing to walk in my father’s footsteps,” said 23-year-old NYPD officer David Clement.

Just three weeks of wearing the badge and blue uniform, patrol officer Clement said he knows he’s got a lot of work to do.

“We have to build that trust back. We’re not against you, we are with you,” said David Clement. And he knows he has big shoes to fill. “I hope I’m able to hopefully live up to his legacy that he laid down.”

Deputy Inspector Clement, who has an open-door policy with his staff and the community, said his inspiration came from his adopted grandfather who was a police sergeant in Guyana. He’s proud his son is following in his footsteps. Together the two are inspiring their families and immigrant and Asian American communities across New York City.

“Whatever you dream of in America, you can attain,” Ralph Clement said.

Officer Clement has a baby boy of his own who he is hoping follows in his footsteps and joins the NYPD someday.