POTSDAM, N.Y (WWTI) – The SUNY Potsdam police academy this fall welcomed its largest class in eight years, moved into new space on the Potsdam campus to accommodate the growth, and received a rare infusion of energy as retired law enforcement veterans entered the academy both to learn new skills and to share their decades of field experience with the cohort.

The academy is also training an emergency medicine physician who will render aid at the very moment SWAT teams and other officers of the Finger Lakes region enter life-threatening situations.

A total of 35 cadets have commenced their training, with 20 “pre-employment” college students and 15 hired officers from St. Lawrence and Franklin County agencies — more than double the average total of 17 new faces for a single cohort.

I believe the influx is because nearly every agency, from local to state and federal, are all hiring and paying very competitive wages and benefits to entice new recruits.

Albert “Sonny” Duquette, SUNY Potsdam Police Academy Director

The police academy moved to a new space in SUNY Potsdam’s Merritt Hall from its former space in Maxcy Hall because the former facility could only hold 24 students, according to Duquette. The new space, previously a daycare area, has ample room for reality-based training for domestic violence, active shooter scenarios, room clearing, crisis intervention, de-escalation, and emergency medical response training, among numerous other areas of emphasis.