Niagara Gazette — Christmas came a few days early for the Niagara Falls Police Department as it graduated seven members at the recent Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy.
The seven Falls grads make up a third of the 22 men and women who unwrapped hard-earned certificates of completion last week at Niagara University, where the academy held its 56th graduation ceremony.
Completion of the academy marks the culmination of an intensive 22-week training program, featuring a curriculum for police and corrections officers that includes firearm instruction, civilian dispatch training, DWI detection, accident investigation, radar operation, TASER use and fingerprinting as well as seminars on developing topics such as homeland security.
“Like many classes before us, we started as individuals, and ended up a single, cohesive unit,” remarked Class President John Marcyan of the Niagara Falls Police Department. “There were times when we struggled and there were times when we succeeded, but we always did it together.”
In thanking Niagara University for its partnership, Niagara County Sheriff James R. Voutour noted that it was the first time he’d seen a standing-room-only crowd for the event.
The ceremony’s keynote speaker was Michelle Y. Spahn, resident agent in charge of the Drug Enforcement Administration’s Buffalo Resident Office. A highly decorated officer, Spahn worked alongside Iraqi judges and prosecutors to investigate crimes committed by Saddam Hussein against the Iraqi people in 2005.
She remains the only female who has ever successfully completed the Foreign-Deployed Advisory Support Team Assessment and Indoctrination Course, an eight-week rigorous physical training program led by U.S. Army Special Forces.
During her address, Spahn noted that she fulfills her professional duties according to “C.O.R.E.,” an acronym she said has helped her achieve great success. The components of the acronym are confidence, opportunity, respect and empowerment.