SUNY Canton Police Academy Emphasizes De-Escalation Tactics


The St. Lawrence County-David Sullivan Law Enforcement Academy begins its 23rd session with an emphasis on de-escalation tactics.

More than a dozen future law enforcement professionals began their training on Monday, Jan. 8, representing agencies from across the North Country.

Pictured from left are SUNY Canton police academy cadets Gregory J. Anderson, a future St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s deputy, and Joshua Belile, a Homeland Security major enrolled in the pre-employment portion of the academy.

According to Academy Director Joseph Brown, a SUNY Canton alumnus and a retired Massena Police Department investigator, this year’s class will learn new ways to defuse potentially dangerous situations without the use of force.

“Our cadets study of police responses,” Brown said. “In cases that end in violence, we evaluate the situation to see what could be done to de-escalate the situation verbally to bring a mutually successful end to the encounter.”

Potsdam Village Police Officer First Class Matthew A. Seymour teaches the first section of the SUNY Canton David Sullivan-St. Lawrence County Law Enforcement Academy.

The academy also includes a special emphasis on community police practices, including fair and impartial policing. Brown explained that communication is key in any dealings with the public. The cadets are trained in a variety of ways to successfully bring a situation a situation of potential conflict to a positive resolution. “Body language, attention and empathy are all crucial,” he said.

New courses implemented by the New York State Department of Criminal Justice Services include professional communications, procedural justice and decision making. These courses further support the academy’s current focus.

Cadets are also trained in opioid intervention and the administration of the life-saving drug Naloxone, also known as Narcan, during the first-responder section of the academy.

SUNY Canton David Sullivan-St. Lawrence County Law Enforcement Academy cadets learn life-saving techniques during the EMS section of the semester-long training. Pictured is Tewasherake Barnes, a future St. Regis Tribal Police officer, putting a tourniquet on Anthony Mossow, a future Norfolk Town Police officer.

“We equip our cadets with an advanced skillset they will need for their careers,” said SUNY Canton University Police Chief Alan P. Mulkin. “The majority of our courses are taught by active law enforcement officers. The men and women enrolled in our academy learn from the professionals they will be serving with when they graduate.”

SUNY Canton’s Law Enforcement Academy Training is offered in two phases. Phase one offers pre-employment training and encompasses the majority of skills necessary to become a police officer. Cadets are then eligible to complete phase two upon becoming a sworn police officer. Phase two includes, firearms, and counter terrorism training, advanced police arrest techniques, among other topics.

SUNY Canton is one of a select few academies in New York State to offer this comprehensive two-part training, which greatly benefits North Country agencies.

Students in law enforcement related programs can opt to take phase one of the training to meet their academic requirements. Those students are often recruited to fill vacancies at area police agencies, which then qualifies them to complete the academy and begin employment immediately after graduation.

About SUNY Canton

As Northern New York's premier college for career-driven bachelor's degrees, associate degrees and professional certificate programs, SUNY Canton delivers quality hands-on programs in engineering technology, management, and healthcare fields. It is home to the Center for Criminal Justice, Intelligence and Cybersecurity. Faculty members are noted for their professional real-world experience in addition to outstanding academic credentials. As SUNY's leader in online education, SUNY Canton OnLine offers hundreds of flexible and convenient courses as well as 23 online degree programs. The SUNY Canton Kangaroos 15 traditional athletic teams compete at the NCAA Division III level as part of the North Atlantic Conference. SUNY Canton also features varsity esports and cheerleading.