Featured News - Current News - Archived News - News Categories

An outside view of the soon-to-open Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy.
An outside view of the soon-to-open Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy.

Officials offer look at new Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy

Fri, Apr 19th 2024 07:00 am

Facility to feature state-of-the-art training at SUNY Niagara

√ New NCLEA to open in early June

By Terry Duffy


Niagara County officials provided a construction update this week on the nearly 15,000-square-foot Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy that’s set to open this June on the SUNY Niagara campus in Sanborn.

 “We’ve cooperated with the law enforcement community. What they have here is state-of-the-art in every aspect – in terms of assimilation,” SUNY Niagara President William Murabito said. “We have a new program where we are incorporating the academy as part of our associate’s degree program. The student spends two years with us; that student leaves with an associate’s degree and oftentimes they’re hired.”

Niagara County Sheriff Michael J. Filicetti said the academy would train students to meet the ever-growing demands of law enforcement.

“There’s a need to have a stronger academy; this facility has the best training facilities possible,” he said. “We have stepped up; the county has stepped up. Those who want a law enforcement experience will have the opportunity here.”

Filicetti said the academy is a partnership with SUNY Niagara, the City of Niagara Falls and Niagara County.

“This is a state-of-the-art academy,” he said. “It will not only train recruits; it will train our corrections officers; it will provide training for all the existing police officers, deputy sheriffs here in Niagara County. It brings to the cutting edge of all the things we’re capable of doing.”

Murabito said NCLEA students “are the sons and daughters of law enforcement professionals. There’s an attachment here. It’s something that is very unique.”

Filicetti went on to discuss the academy’s newest features, including a reality-based training classroom on the second floor; use-of-force simulators; and expanded training, office, locker and gathering spaces.

“It would have a moveable wall system in here,” Filicetti said of the classroom setting. “Think of active shooter situations (in schools): You want to be able to train, to clear those rooms, to get in there fast, stop that threat. There will be reality-based training. It just raises the levels to make it more realistic.”

He said the facility would have rollout mats for use in defensive tactics training, even jail cells for use in corrections classes. Rooms will accommodate up to 25 students, with average sizes expected to range from 15-20 with split-up options as needed, depending on situations.

The NCLEA will operate as a 24-week program and utilize professional law enforcement as instructors. The new complex will be a secure facility on the open campus environment found at SUNY Niagara.

Once fully operational, Filicetti said the NCLEA would be able to serve every law enforcement agency in Niagara County and in neighboring counties.

“We pull in a lot of recruits,” he said. “It will be attendance-only for anyone that’s law enforcement. We will have criminal justice students coming over to use the facility, as well.”

Filicetti added, “(Our) training has evolved a lot. (With) use-of-force training, (there’s) thousands of scenarios.

He said simulators would teach students how to effectively remove an escalation, and also about the level of force need in such a situation.

“That is very hard to replicate,” Filicetti said.

He noted he also hopes the academy will help address a trend in law enforcement recruitment efforts.

“Over the last four years, we’ve seen a decline in the applications for deputy sheriff and police officer positions,” Filicetti said. “Part of that (are) the negatives about the job.

“I am able to fill the ranks with quality deputies, (but) I have less people taking the tests (as much as 45% lower) than I did four-five years ago. A lot has been the image portrayed for law enforcement. Quite frankly, some people don’t want to do the job with the environment politically. It really seems to be stacking against law enforcement.”

“For 31 years, I’ve been saying this is the best job in the world, and I still truly believe that,” he said.

For more information on the new NCLEA, visit www.niagaracc.suny.edu.

Niagara County Sheriff Michael J. Filicetti discusses the many new classroom features of the law enforcement academy. Joining him is Niagara County Legislature Chairwoman Becky Wydysh.

Hometown News

View All News