DALLAS, Texas - A New York man said he quit college to apply for the Dallas Police Academy after he was inspired by Dallas Police Chief David's Brown call to serve after the deadly officer ambush.
For Mike Sipolo, the mission to serve is extremely personal. He was living in New York on the night when five Dallas police officers were killed in downtown.
It was while watching the news of the tragedy that Sipolo learned a man he used to call family, Officer Patrick Zamarripa, was among the dead. The slain officer was his ex-brother-in-law.
"Just seeing the unbelievable support of the people of Texas and everyone who came out. There was thousands of people lining the highway who didn't even know Patrick," the 31-year-old said.
Sipolo met Zamarripa in the Navy. Also during that time, he met Zamarripa's sister. The two later married and divorced. They share a daughter who lives in North Texas.
Sipolo says the deadly shooting and the outpouring of support prompted him to quit college in New York and apply for the academy.
Sipolo said the tipping point to apply was when Chief Brown said, "Become part of the solution. Serve your communities. Don't be part of the problem. We're hiring."
"You can either sit on the sidelines and complain about it or step up and do something," Sipolo said. "I think Chief Brown put it perfectly."
Sipolo hopes to someday wear the same badge Zamarripa did.
"It's not about me. It's really about Patrick and his family. I feel it's the right thing to do and the best way to honor him is to do this," Sipolo said. "You've got to follow your heart. Sometimes you just have to do what's right."
Sipolo says he made it past phase one in applying for the academy. He'll be back Friday morning for a civil service exam and polygraph test.