SUNY Canton Celebrates First Corrections Academy Graduation


SUNY Canton’s Center for Criminal Justice, Intelligence and Cybersecurity hosted the inaugural graduation ceremony for its new Corrections Academy July 3.

The four-week training is designed for those who are already working in the corrections field, as well as for current SUNY students. All graduates earned a certification from the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Service (DCJS), and SUNY Canton students received an additional four credit hours toward their degree.

Rodney Votra shakes hands with cadet Jesse Walley at the Corrections graduation ceremony.

“I was most impressed by the dynamic between our relatively new officers and the SUNY Canton students,” said Rodney Votra, academy director and training coordinator for the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office. “The officers brought real-life experience that coincided perfectly with the knowledge students have gained while completing their degrees.”

The curriculum incorporates a combination of traditional lectures and hands-on training. Cadets learned defensive tactics, hostage-survival techniques, first aid, crime scene preservation, effective communication strategies, suicide prevention practices and other safety procedures.

“From a student perspective, the academy was a valuable experience because it not only prepares us for a career in corrections, but the concepts we learned are applicable to a variety of different law enforcement professions,” said Jesse T. Walley, a SUNY Canton Law Enforcement Leadership major.

The 2019 graduates are:

  • Sarah L. Duvall, a corrections officer with the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office
  • Dylan M. Gonzales, a Criminal Investigation major from Theresa
  • Ryan Kirgan, a Homeland Security major from Windsor
  • Samuel D. Lawrence, a Law Enforcement Leadership major from Halfmoon
  • William C. Pharoah, a corrections officer with the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office
  • Teressa L. Rutkauskas, a corrections officer with the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office
  • Larry K. Sanchez, a Homeland Security major from the Bronx
  • Jesse T. Walley, a Law Enforcement Leadership major from Cortland

Rodney Votra addresses guests at the Corrections Academy graduation

The Corrections Academy, a collaboration between the DCJS and the St. Lawrence Country Sheriff’s Office, is one of the very few programs of its kind linked with a college in New York State and is the only option connecting traditional academic offerings directly to this in-demand employment field. Students can enroll in the corrections academy and also potentially enroll in the David Sullivan St. Lawrence County Law Enforcement Academy as part of their SUNY Canton education, which can lead to a four-year degree with pre-certifications as both a corrections officer and police officer.

The center is also currently hosting its first two-week corrections supervisor training that offers more than 60 hours of instruction for professionals working throughout the state.

The academy’s next session is scheduled for June 2020. For more information, visit

About SUNY Canton

Discover SUNY Canton, where innovation meets opportunity. The college’s career-focused educational programs emphasize hands-on and applied learning opportunities in digital design, engineering technology, health, information technology, management, public service, and veterinary technology. Faculty members bring real-world experience and exceptional academic expertise to the classroom. As a leader in online education, SUNY Canton offers unmatched flexibility with hundreds of courses and 23 comprehensive degree programs offered completely online. The SUNY Canton Kangaroos compete at the NCAA Division III level and will be transitioning to the SUNYAC in Fall 2024. In addition to its 15 traditional teams, SUNY Canton offers coed varsity esports and cheerleading.