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Potsdam Prepared: Fall 2021 Updates

SUNY Potsdam Law Enforcement Training Institute Receives Donated Vehicle

August 11, 2021

SUNY Potsdam Pre-Employment Police Training Program Benefits from Donated Vehicle from Ellis Chevrolet 

From left, Ellis Chevrolet Buick GMC CEO Rick Ellis, President Jason Ellis, SUNY Potsdam Law Enforcement Training Institute Director Sonny Duquette and Operations Manager Randy Wood.

The SUNY Potsdam Law Enforcement Training Institute recently received a donated vehicle to use in the police academy’s training programs, thanks to the generosity of a local dealership.  

The team from Ellis Chevrolet Buick GMC in Malone, N.Y.—including President Jason Ellis, CEO Rick Ellis, and Operations Manager Rick Wood—handed over the keys to a donated Dodge Avenger recently to Law Enforcement Training Institute Director Sonny Duquette. The vehicle will be a huge boost for the New York State-accredited police academy, Duquette said. 

"With funding for law enforcement training being extremely low, academy directors around the state have been reaching out to their local communities in hopes of gaining any assistance, especially with big ticket items, such as vehicles. We were in dire need. Vehicles are needed for multiple training modules throughout a police academy, such as emergency vehicle operations, professional traffic stops, vehicle extractions, high risk stops and reality based training, to name just a few,” he said. 

As a New York State-accredited policy academy, SUNY Potsdam's Law Enforcement Training Institute offers instruction in defensive tactics, emergency medical services, emergency vehicle operation, applying field sobriety tests, processing crime scenes and a plethora of other training topics. The Institute offers both Phase 1 and Phase 2 instruction for either pre-employment cadets or hired officers/cadets. 

“Seeing as how we train local agencies such as the Malone, Saranac Lake, Tupper Lake, SUNY Potsdam and Potsdam police departments, I reached out to almost every dealership in Franklin and St. Lawrence counties looking for a donation to help us if possible. Jason Ellis was the only one who offered to help. I was really hurting for a vehicle, and full disclosure, I was really hoping that the fact Rick Ellis was a retired trooper would come in to play for us. Thankfully, it did!” Duquette said. I am very happy they stepped up for us. Law enforcement needs training, and we all know it. To get there, funding and community involvement is key. It must be a team effort, in every regard. I tip my hat to Rick and Jason Ellis, as well as Randy Wood. Whenever the community and its law enforcement work together, it's a feel-good moment. And we all want and need more of those.” 

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. It also offers Phase 2 training for recently hired officers. The institute is a joint initiative of the Lougheed Center for Applied Learning, the Department of Sociology and University Police. 

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. 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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