SUNY Canton Law Enforcement Academy Launches Careers


This spring, SUNY Canton Criminal Investigation senior Joseph D. Mastro of Canton will fulfill his lifelong dream of becoming a Canton Police Department officer within a month of earning his degree.

Joseph Mastro takes notes during academy courses.
Career Graduate - SUNY Canton Criminal Investigation Major Joseph D. Mastro of Canton takes notes during a classroom training in the David Sullivan-St. Lawrence County Law Enforcement Academy. Mastro will join the Canton Police Department when he completes his Academy training.

"That was the number one place I wanted to go when I graduate," Mastro said. "My dad is retired law enforcement. When I told him I wanted to be a police officer, I could see the smile and a little glimmer in his eyes."

Mastro opted to enroll in the David Sullivan-St. Lawrence County Law Enforcement Academy as a pre-employment student to complete his senior-level internship. He began phase one of the intensive coursework necessary to become a police officer. Then he was hired by Canton Police department, allowing him to complete the academy's second phase.

Academy Cadets Lochlan Bower and Brian Hanlin during a defensive tactics class in the Dana Hall gym.
Hands-on Training - Pictured (l to r) are David Sullivan-St. Lawrence County Law Enforcement Academy Cadets Lochlan B. Bower of Hogansburg and Brian S. Hanlin of Calcium during a defensive tactics class in the Dana Hall gym. Bower will be joining the St. Regis Tribal Police, and Hanlin will be joining the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office when they complete the academy.

"I wanted to do something to further my career," he said. "I've always wanted to be a police officer, and the Academy gives you a leg up by being able to complete phase one and also finish your degree at the same time."

The future officer finished his four-year degree in just three years. He said he enjoyed his hands-on training in his courses and through the Academy. "The Criminal Investigation program is definitely the way to go if you want to be law enforcement," he said. "Now, some of the stuff is almost review. We learned some of the materials, so it makes the Academy easier."

Mastro joins 13 other cadets currently enrolled in the academy. Together, they will complete more than 800 hours of rigorous training, including defensive tactics, physical fitness and academic preparation.

Sgt. Corbin Schultz-Gates of Potsdam Village Police Department teaches a class on communications.
Professional Instruction - Sgt. Corbin Schultz-Gates of Potsdam Village Police Department teaches a class on communications for officers in the David Sullivan-St. Lawrence County Law Enforcement Academy.

According to Academy Director Joseph W. Brown, the class also receives officer wellness classes and implicit bias training. 

“Implicit bias training helps our cadets become equitable officers,” Brown said. “It contributes to building trust and positive relationships within our communities, which is crucial for effective law enforcement.”

Other areas of instruction include emergency vehicle operations, traffic stops, building searches, domestic disputes and resolution, investigations, and hostage negotiations. They also spend extensive time learning penal law, policies and procedures. 

About the Academy

The St. Lawrence County-David Sullivan Law Enforcement Academy is hosted by SUNY Canton's Center for Criminal Justice, Intelligence and Cybersecurity and sponsored by the St. Lawrence County Sheriff's Office. The academy has provided the New York State Basic Course for Police Officers in the local area since 1996. Accredited by the New York State Bureau for Municipal Police, it is one of six approved by the state's Department of Criminal Justice Services, Office of Public Safety. The academy is named after the late Canton Village Police Chief, David Sullivan. The Sullivan family remains actively involved with the program.

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.