The Niagara County Sheriff's Department was honored at the Sept. 16 Niagara County Legislature's meeting for completing reaccreditation of its corrections division.
New York State Sheriff's Association Executive Director Peter R. Kehoe praised Niagara County Sheriff James R. Voutour, senior ranked officers of the Niagara County Sheriff's Office Corrections Division and members of the sheriff's executive team for completing the requirements for reaccreditation of the division.
Kehoe told legislators that fewer than half of the sheriff's offices in New York state's 62 counties hold corrections division accreditation from the New York State Sheriff's Association. More than 160 rigorous and comprehensive standards must be met for reaccreditation. He noted the Niagara County Sheriff's Office is also accredited in the law enforcement, civil and communications divisions. In addition, the sheriff's office forensic laboratory is accredited at the state and federal levels by other certifying agencies.
"The Niagara County Sheriff's Office continues its impressive work," Kehoe said. "Across the board, from corrections to communications, Sheriff Voutour and his highly skilled team of professionals have amassed a remarkable record of achievements. The people of Niagara County have every right to be proud of and thankful for these accomplishments because they add to the quality of life here in Niagara County."
Kehoe specifically lauded Sheriff Voutour, Undersheriff Michael J. Filicetti, Chief Deputy Thomas C. Beatty, Chief Jail Administrator Kevin M. Payne and corrections captains Daniel M. Engert, Darren W. Engert, Jeffrey S. Kolbe and Aaron M. Livergood for their role in completing the reaccreditation process.
"With 148 corrections officers, the Corrections Division is the largest division of the Niagara County Sheriff's Office," Voutour said. "Corrections officers are usually vastly outnumbered by inmates. The inmates are often angry and uncooperative. Some very dangerous.
"This is difficult and unglamorous work. But it is essential to the criminal justice system. Many say corrections officers are the unsung heroes of the criminal justice system. Someone once remarked that corrections officers never get a chance to rescue a kitten from a tree. Corrections officers allow average citizens to sleep peacefully at night and to go about their daily routines in relative ease of mind.
"Gov. Cuomo recently proclaimed Sheriff's Week in New York State and the Niagara County Legislature issued its own proclamation saluting our efforts here in Niagara County, so it is fitting that this recognition has come at this time because it reflects our determination to serve and protect the people of Niagara County to the best of our ability," Voutour added. "We are grateful for Gov. Cuomo's support and also the ongoing commitment of the Niagara County Legislature to provide the resources to help us make Niagara County the finest community it can possibly be."