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SUNY Potsdam Law Enforcement Training Academy Adopts StressVests for Force Training

May 8, 2019

SUNY Potsdam Has First Police Academy in State to Offer StressVests for Realistic Training


The SUNY Potsdam Law Enforcement Training Institute is the first New York State police training academy to adopt the StressVest, a high-tech tool that delivers shocks to simulate injuries during training. 

The StressVest is designed to improve tactical firearm force-on-force training for law enforcement, military, security and corrections officers around the world. The institute first used these vests just last week and will continue to all this week.

“This is simply amazing! Reality-based training is designed to put officers in the most realistic training situations possible, by inducing high levels of stress,” said Academy Director and Lead Tactics Instructor Sonny Duquette. “The training scenarios are designed to replicate real-life situations, providing the needed tools for officers to react to a potential crisis in a self-survival and sustainable manner. This can promote mental acuity, situational awareness and confidence within the officer, so that they may adequately handle various situations, as well as save the lives of the public, bystanders, the suspect and other officers.”

StressVests use a non-projectile system with a pain penalty (shock) that induces the necessary stress required for realistic training. By having a non-projectile based system, this opens up the opportunity for students to train in real environments without risk of injury, and allows them to simultaneously use all the skills they have learned, such as communications and de-escalation.

Communications and de-escalation can be inhibited during projectile-based training because of bulky training masks that are required. The StressVest system allows many more role-players to become involved, as there are no requirements for safety gear. Used along with the College’s Laser Shot firearms training simulator, the system allows future officers to train in the most realistic environment and be properly tested in high-stress situations.     

“With our firearms simulator and now our StressVests, the SUNY Potsdam Law Enforcement Training Institute is looking forward to continuing to turn out high-level trained police cadets, as well as sharing our advanced training equipment and instructors with area police agencies. We all win if we work together to protect our communities,” Duquette said.

SUNY Potsdam’s Law Enforcement Training Institute offers students the opportunity to complete a rigorous pre-employment, state-approved police training as part of their undergraduate curriculum. Cadets complete 93 percent of the total police academy requirements, prior to completing their undergraduate degree. The institute is a joint initiative of the Lougheed Center for Applied Learning, the Department of Sociology and University Police.

Funding for the StressVests came from SUNY Potsdam’s Performance Improvement Fund grant from SUNY, which supports applied learning initiatives at the College.

The Law Enforcement Training Institute has a maximum availability of 30 students per cohort, and top priority for acceptance is given to SUNY Potsdam criminal justice students. Applications are now being accepted for the Fall 2019 semester. To learn more, visit

The SUNY Potsdam Criminal Justice Studies Program provides a broad interdisciplinary liberal arts orientation, with course requirements in philosophy, politics and sociology, and the opportunity for students to elect to study courses in anthropology, chemistry and psychology. The SUNY Potsdam Department of Sociology offers both a major and a minor in criminal justice studies. For more information, visit

About SUNY Potsdam:

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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