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Phase 2 Training is now Being Offered at SUNY Potsdam for Recently Hired Police Officers

January 25, 2019

From left, SUNY Potsdam Police Academy Director Sonny Duquette, Saranac Lake Police Cadet Will Flynn, SUNY Potsdam Police Chief Timothy Ashley, Malone Village Police Cadet Ashley Hotaling and Malone Central School District Officer James Russell pose for a portrait at SUNY Potsdam’s Maxcy Hall.

On January 10, SUNY Potsdam’s Law Enforcement Training Institute (L.E.T.I.) added Phase 2 training to the College’s New York State Certified Municipal Police Academy. Up to this point, the previous three academies held at the SUNY Potsdam Police Academy have strictly been Phase 1—training for pre-employment college students.

In New York state, civilians can be trained and pre-certified in 93 percent of the New York State Basic Police Training course through Phase 1. The final seven percent of the training can only be completed by hired police officers as part of Phase 2 training. The Four components in Phase 2 training (in which only hired officers may attend) include Firearms, Baton, BOSAR (Basic Observations and Recognition of Suspicious Activity) and Field Training with their hiring agency, most commonly known as ‘hiring agency ride along.’   

SUNY Potsdam has formed a network with signed agreements from three police departments in Franklin County: Malone, Saranac Lake and Tupper Lake Police, as well as with SUNY Potsdam’s own University Police department. The College is also in the final stages of adding the Lake Placid Police Department in Essex County.

The new agreement has opened the door for these agencies to provide their police instructors, equipment, and resources to SUNY Potsdam’s police academy, and in return the College will train their officers at a fraction of the cost that they would normally pay at other academies throughout the state. This is significant financial savings for both SUNY Potsdam and the partnering police agencies. The SUNY Potsdam Police Academy also has a tremendous working relationship with the New York State DEC Police, an organization that has been instructor-certifying their officers, who have in turn helped to teach SUNY Potsdam’s police academy cadets.

In addition, the partnering police agencies now have a police training hub right here at SUNY Potsdam where they can train their entire departments, from patrol officers to supervisors, in what is known as “in-service” training. This all aids in making SUNY Potsdam’s Law Enforcement Training Institute a more vibrant and complete educational community. “Just last month we had five police agencies here doing defensive tactics training and using our Firearms Simulator where they trained ‘shoot / don’t shoot’ scenarios. And in the last three months alone we trained some of these agencies police officers to be instructors in EVOC (emergency vehicle operator course), Defensive Tactics, as well as Taser and Radar,” said Police Academy Director Sonny Duquette.

SUNY Potsdam will also be holding a School Resource Officer (SRO) training course in conjunction with the Law Enforcement Training Institute. Retired Village of Malone Police Detective Sergeant James Russell, the newly hired SRO of the Franklin Academy High School in Malone, will be going through parts of the police academy with the current cadre of cadets to gain his state certification.

“It’s exciting to have our pre-employment college students sit right beside these hired officers as they all progress through their police training together. A large part of police work is about networking and resources, and this gives us both! Our cadets have been hired throughout New York state and as far as Burlington, Vermont, Washington D.C., Gwinnett County, Georgia, Raleigh-Durham, North Carolina, and Dallas, Texas. All of these connections are potential resources,” said Duquette. “The SUNY Potsdam Law Enforcement Training Institute in conjunction with our Criminal Justice Department, is running on all cylinders. It’s definitely a very exciting time for us,” said Duquette.

Founded in 1816, The State University of New York at Potsdam is one of America’s first 50 colleges—and the oldest institution within SUNY. Now in its third century, SUNY Potsdam is distinguished by a legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 3,600 undergraduate and graduate students. Home to the world-renowned Crane School of Music, SUNY Potsdam is known for its challenging liberal arts and sciences core, distinction in teacher training and culture of creativity. To learn more, visit

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