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NCSO: A year of accomplishment, and much more to come in 2024

Fri, Jan 12th 2024 11:00 am

By Niagara County Sheriff Michael J. Filicetti

In 2023, much was accomplished at the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, with much more planned for 2024.

You can imagine that much of our days were spent providing public safety services to our residents (after all, that is what we do); 56,435 calls for service were answered, 2,609 individuals were arrested, 5,676 traffic tickets were issued, 3,025 individual bookings took place in the correctional facility, 422 community events were attended, and 181,570 phone calls were answered in the communications center – with 101,513 of those being 911 calls. This is just a portion of the work that our staff completed in 2023. The many divisions that make up our office were all busy providing vital services to our community.

Along with administering public safety, it takes a steady hand at planning and projecting ahead to keep our office running smoothly. 2023 was certainly a busy year for projects and improvements. The much-anticipated Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy construction began at Niagara County Community College. This project is moving along and slated to open in June. This academy will be the center of excellent training for all public safety in our county and beyond. This project was made possible by funding from the Niagara County Legislature, SUNY and the City of Niagara Falls.

Radio communications are key to providing emergency services in our county. Three new emergency communication towers were completed in Wilson, Wheatfield and Barker. The new towers were constructed with Statewide Interoperable Communications Grant funding. Our communications system is used by all first responders in this county, with the Niagara Falls Police Department being the latest addition.

Text to 911 was added as a service for those unable to call 911 in an emergency. This enhances our ability to help those in need during an emergency.

Correctional facility programs were expanded to include more offerings from our partnership with Orleans-Niagara BOCES. A new program for a few select college classes has been made possible through Niagara County Community College. This program is supported through our inmate profit account and is not an expense to the taxpayer.

I firmly believe that we can help put some individuals back on the right path with the proper programs.

Lastly, our civil division successfully completed reaccreditation through the New York State Sheriff’s Association. I am proud to say that our agency maintains accreditation through New York State and the New York State Sheriff’s Association in our law enforcement division, civil division, communications division, corrections division and forensic lab. This is such an important accomplishment to maintain a high level of service.

Looking ahead to 2024, funding was approved by the Niagara County Legislature to make physical improvements at the Sheriff’s Office. Planning has started for a feasibility/design study for the older portion of the correctional facility. This portion of the complex was originally constructed in 1959 and showing signs of its age. The forensic lab and other portions of the law enforcement side of the house will see upgrades through a planned capital project, as well. It is important to upgrade and maintain the facility we depend on 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

We will also be adding five new deputy sheriff positions to the roster this year. These positions are partially funded by a COPS grant and will be used to supplement our current road patrol staffing. It is crucial that we keep our road patrol staffed at a level capable of responding to the community needs. We will continue our extensive community outreach efforts through social media, news outlets, TV segments, school programs and in-person events.

It is very important to me that our public knows who we are. I believe that, when you are having one of those worst moments, it helps to know who is responding. We will remain focused on school safety, personnel training, technology advancement and preserving the peace in our beautiful county.

This year, we will continue to do what our community relies on us to do. We will work collaboratively with our law enforcement partners and other first responders in Niagara County to provide you with the best possible public safety services. All of this is possible by having a dedicated and highly trained staff that we can depend on every day to get the job done.

I appreciate the hard work that my men and women put in making sure we keep our county safe.

Please be well, watch out for your neighbors and stay safe.

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