TOP 10: The law enforcement academy changes site after a controversy (n ° 4) | Local news
A planned protest at the Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy’s graduation in May has led to monumental changes to the curriculum in 2021.
The year began with the program located on the Lewiston campus of Niagara University as part of a collaborative program between institutions. The Law Enforcement Academy is a partnership between the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office, the Niagara Falls Police Department, and the University of Niagara Criminal Justice and Outreach Services. The program trains both hired and sworn officers as well as pre-employment recruits.
Everything was going well until the cadet graduation ceremony in May. Usually held on the NU campus, the university took steps to move the graduation ceremony off campus after learning that a group of NU students were planning to demonstrate at the event. The university has reserved space for graduation at a downtown Falls hotel instead.
News of the planned protest appears to have surfaced after former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin was convicted in the murder of George Floyd. University officials have reportedly expressed concern that any protest against the academy’s graduation ceremony would be “embarrassing” for the families of the recruits.
The decision was not well received by Niagara County Sheriff Michael Filicetti, Falls Police Superintendent John Faso and Niagara County Legislator David Godfrey, chairman of the Community Safety Committee of the Legislative Assembly of the Niagara County.
The Sheriff said, “Our academy is located at the University of Niagara and I would prefer to have my degree at the University of Niagara. I would like to feel support for NU and I don’t think we get any support as law enforcement or law enforcement academy. “
UN officials later said the resettlement was the result of a “scheduling conflict,” but the damage had already been done.
Academy graduates accepted an offer from the Niagara Falls School District to host the ceremony and received a heroic welcome inside and outside the ceremony.
Two months later, Godfrey and Filicetti announced that plans were underway to move the NU Law Enforcement Academy to the Niagara County Community College campus in Sanborn. He officially returned to the NCCC campus in July.
At the end of the year, the Niagara County Legislature approved a resolution that will commit up to $ 3 million in funding for the construction of a new university complex. The money will come from the county’s Coronavirus State and Local Fiscal Recovery Fund, which taps into the county’s allowance under the US bailout.
While the NCCC provided a classroom and other facilities for the academy, Filicetti said a new building, with increased space and advanced technology, is needed to provide optimal training and education for the future law enforcement officers.
“We are adding components to the academy that require more space than we currently have,” said Filicetti. “These include a use of force simulator, a reality-based training space for conducting exercises, a ‘mat room’ for training in defensive tactics and four full classrooms. It will also provide opportunities for NCCC students (in the criminal justice degree program) to use the facility. “
The new academy would be a 14,000 square foot facility with an estimated price tag of over $ 5 million. In addition to the new building, the project would also include repaving the parking lot on lot 4 of the NCCC.
The county hopes its $ 3 million pledge will earn it $ 2.5 million in matching funds from the SUNY Community College investment program to help with construction. The request for this funding is now pending in front of SUNY.