Niagara Gazette

December 25, 2013

Niagara Falls graduates seven from police academy

Staff reports
Niagara Gazette

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.

Spahn also advised the graduates, “Law enforcement is not a job, it’s a calling. When we take that vow, we’re given the public trust. We are to never violate that trust. Always do the right thing, even when nobody’s looking.”

The Rev. James J. Maher, C.M., Niagara University president, echoed Spahn’s words of wisdom. He added that the university stands fully supportive as an active partner with law enforcement to effectively serve the community, especially those in need.

“What we celebrate today is the activation of your calling,” began Father Maher. “Embrace this calling. Deepen this calling. Be the best that you can be.”

The NCLEA, Niagara County’s only approved training program for law enforcement officers, began holding classes at NU in February 2011, making Niagara the only four-year, private college in New York to host a full-time police academy.

Coordination of the program on Niagara’s campus is undertaken by the university’s Office of Continuing Education and criminal justice department.

For more information about the Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy, please call 286-8759 or email

2013 GRADUATES Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy co-directors Sgt. Jill Herrington and Detective John Faso handed out diplomas to: n James Bissell, Youngstown Police Dept. n Brian Buchalski, Niagara Falls Police Dept. n Stephen Cronmiller, Batavia Police Dept. n Heather Farr, Pre-employment n Eric Foels, Batavia Police Dept. n Peter Flanagan, Batavia Police Dept. n Frederick Goldacker III, Pre-employment n Andrew Hale, Genesee County Sheriff's Office n Erik Herbert, North Tonawanda Police Dept. n Mi'ch-el Le King, Niagara Falls Police Dept. n David Kok, Niagara Falls Police Dept. n Derek Kratts, Pre-employment n Michael P. Loncar Jr., North Tonawanda Police Dept. n John Marcyan, Niagara Falls Police Dept. n Robert Miles, Niagara Falls Police Dept. n Adam Paul, Pre-employment n Kelly Rougeux, Niagara Falls Police Dept. n Alexander Ruckh, Pre-employment n Christina Tyran, Niagara Falls Police Dept n Luke Udell, Niagara County Sheriff's Office n Jared Voelker, Pre-employment n Nicholas Walter, Niagara County Sheriff's Office