SUNY Potsdam Launches Law Enforcement Training Institute

Students Can Now Complete Police Academy Training Before Graduation at SUNY Potsdam's New Law Enforcement Training Institute

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From left, David Bugg, Tim Ashley, Rick Miller, Kristin Esterberg, Sonny Duquette, Jenica Rogers, Bette Bergeron, Toby White, Nancy Lewis and Shane Ashley. For a full caption, please see the release.

POTSDAM, NY (12/22/2016)(readMedia)-- SUNY Potsdam is proud to announce the formation of the College's new Law Enforcement Training Institute, which will launch in Spring 2017 with its first cohort of students.

The Law Enforcement Training Institute at SUNY Potsdam will provide students with a unique opportunity to complete a rigorous pre-employment, state-approved police training as part of their undergraduate curriculum. The institute is a joint initiative of the SUNY Potsdam Center for Applied Learning, the Department of Sociology and University Police.

The institute consists of a full semester of a Division of Criminal Justice-approved curriculum for pre-employment basic police training, which will be offered in both the fall and the spring. SUNY Potsdam students will receive 12 upper-division credits toward their baccalaureate studies.

Students in the institute will complete more than 85 percent of the total requirements for service as a police officer in New York State prior to finishing their undergraduate degree, significantly increasing their competitiveness in the law enforcement job market.

"The SUNY Potsdam Law Enforcement Training Institute will bring the best of both worlds -- offering our students both practical application and academic knowledge," said Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. David Bugg.

Sonny Duquette has been named the director of the SUNY Potsdam Law Enforcement Training Institute. A retired St. Lawrence County detective sergeant and 2010 USA Martial Arts Hall of Fame honoree, Duquette was most recently the director of the David Sullivan-St. Lawrence County Law Enforcement Academy.

"To have the opportunity to go to college and exit with a four-year degree and a police academy on your resume is outstanding. The institute won't just benefit those wanting to become police officers, either. It will also give tremendous training, experience and exposure for those looking to get into occupations such as parole, probation, corrections, border patrol, customs and immigration, 911 dispatching and mental health, to name a few," Duquette said.

As a New York State-accredited policy academy, the institute will offer instruction in defensive tactics, emergency medical services, emergency vehicle operation, applying field sobriety tests, processing crime scenes, military drill and ceremony expectations and a plethora of other law enforcement training topics.

"Our graduates will be actively recruited by criminal justice agencies, as we have created a unique criminal justice educational program that will give our students the choice to complete their police academy training as part of their undergraduate studies," said Associate Professor of Sociology Dr. Nancy Lewis.

The Law Enforcement Training Institute has a maximum availability of 30 students per cohort, and top priority for acceptance will be given to SUNY Potsdam criminal justice students. For any remaining slots, the institute is also open to SUNY Potsdam students completing different areas of study.

Community members or students from other institutions may contact the Office of Transfer Admissions to discuss their eligibility for the program, by visiting

In order to be eligible for the SUNY Potsdam Law Enforcement Training Institute, candidates must be a junior or senior in their undergraduate studies, have a minimum of a 2.5 grade point average and possess a driver's license.

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

Start-up funding for the SUNY Potsdam Law Enforcement Training Institute was provided by a SUNY Performance Improvement Grant, which was awarded to the Center for Applied Learning in 2016.

Photo caption: SUNY Potsdam officials recently gathered for a photo to mark the founding of the Law Enforcement Training Institute. They included, from left: Associate Professor of Sociology David Bugg, Acting Chief of University Police Timothy M. Ashley II, Executive Vice President Rick Miller, President Kristin G. Esterberg, Law Enforcement Training Institute Director Sonny Duquette, Dorf Endowed Director of Applied Learning Jenica Rogers, Provost Bette S. Bergeron, Director of Experiential Education Toby White, Associate Professor of Sociology Nancy Lewis and University Police Lt. Shane Ashley. (The following are not pictured, but were instrumental to the founding of the institute: School of Arts and Sciences Dean Steven Marqusee, Department of Sociology Chair Jeremy van Blommestein and Executive Director of Graduate and Continuing Education Joshua LaFave.)

To learn more about the SUNY Potsdam Law Enforcement Training Institute, visit

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. As the College marks its bicentennial in 2016, SUNY Potsdam is celebrating a 200-year legacy of pioneering programs and educational excellence. The College currently enrolls approximately 4,100 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 leadership in the arts. Empowered by a culture of creativity, the campus community recently completed Take the Lead: The Campaign for Potsdam, which raised $33.5 million for scholarships and programs.