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SUNY Canton Law Enforcement Academy adds officer wellness training

SUNY Canton Law Enforcement Academy adds officer wellness training

City of Ogdensburg Patrolman Ryan Officer Ryan Polniak demonstrates arrest techniques with cadet Joshua Belile of Massena during a class in the David Sullivan-St. Lawrence County Law Enforcement Academy.

CANTON — The newest St. Lawrence County-David Sullivan Law Enforcement Academy class at SUNY Canton will receive training in officer wellness alongside their other semester-long studies.

Police Academy Director of Operations Joseph W. Brown said “the impact of making possible life-or-death decisions and the everyday rigors of modern law enforcement adds to the strain on police officers, resulting in staggering instances of mental health emergencies.” The new training focuses on identifying work-related stressors and how to recognize and cope with them every day. “Maintaining a healthy mind and body is just as important as preparing against the dangers they will encounter in the field,” he said.

The officer wellness training is a new curriculum implemented by the Department of Criminal Justice Services for this year. Other new courses include bail reform and discovery law.

The 2020 academy class began in early January with 16 new cadets representing agencies including the Ogdensburg City Police Department, the Potsdam Village Police Department, the Norwood Police Department, the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police Department.

“Individuals who choose to become law officers are entering demanding and stressful careers,” Brown said. “We’ve integrated a wellness model to help the next generation of police develop the necessary skillsets to handle the stresses they’ll encounter in the field to help them maintain their physical and mental health.”