The Niagara County Sheriff's Office has recently appointed three new school resource officers (SRO) throughout the county for the upcoming school year. This brings the ranks of the SRO team to five.
These deputies are assigned to Newfane Central School District, Niagara BOCES Vocational School, Wilson Central School District, Niagara Charter School, and Starpoint Central School District.
Sheriff Michael Filicetti said, "Cooperation with the school districts has been tremendous. We were able to add deputies to Wilson, Starpoint and Niagara Charter School through agreements with each district. I look forward to these partnerships to keep children safe, and foster relationships between law enforcement and our youth in Niagara County."
A press release explained, “The position of an SRO is unique in the law enforcement profession and requires a deputy to take on multiple roles. They are at the forefront of safety in the schools. They can take on the role of an educator or instructor inside the classrooms to share their experiences and knowledge to the students and staff. In addition, an SRO may at times serve as a counselor to students. With training in de-escalation techniques and crisis intervention, deputies can assist students to navigate through most situations. An SRO becomes an essential member of the school district and community.”
Deputy Raymond Needle is assigned to the Newfane Central School district and has been in that role since February. He has been with the Niagara County Sheriff's Office since October of 2006. Needle is currently a member of the emergency response team, a field training officer, and certified mental health instructor. Needle is also a Newfane graduate and lifetime resident.
Deputy Michelle Ohar is assigned to Niagara BOCES Vocational School, and has been there since January. Ohar was hired by NCSO in January of 2021 and recently completed Basic SRO School.
Deputy Talon Zuchlewski will be the SRO for the Wilson Central School District, and began there on Sept. 1. Zuchlewski was hired by NCSO in August of 2016 and is currently a member of the emergency response and unmanned aerial vehicle teams, is a field training officer, works bike patrol, and is crisis intervention team-certified.
Deputy Joshua Cain has been assigned to Niagara Charter School, and began Sept. 1. Cain was hired by NCSO in December of 2021. He has more than 15 years of law enforcement experience, serving in Middleport, Barker, Youngstown and Lewiston police departments. Cain is currently a member of the accident investigation unit, a field training officer, a certified police instructor, and peer support.
Deputy Gwendolyn Schuler is assigned to the Starpoint Central School District as of Sept. 1. Schuler was hired in April of 2021 and is currently a member of bike patrol, and is certified in advanced roadside impairment driving enforcement (ARIDE).
NCSO added, “Partner law enforcement agencies in Niagara County have also bolstered their school resource officer ranks to keep our children safe in our schools.”