Niagara County Sheriff's Office receives federal funds

·2 min read

Oct. 24—The Niagara County Sheriff's Office has received a $200,000 COPS grant that will boost training in the department.

Congressman Brian Higgins (D-Buffalo/Niagara Falls) and Niagara County Sheriff Michael Filicetti announced the grant, which was made through the U.S. Department of Justice's Office of Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS).

"Responding officers jump into difficult situations with constantly changing variables every day," Higgins said. "This grant supports training to further develop tools that can help best prepare officers to deliver safe and effective community policing methods."

Filicetti said the federal funding will provide training for two deputies who will then become instructors for his office in the area of de-escalation. Police reform advocates have pushed for law enforcement agencies to increase the use of de-escalation tactics as a means of avoiding use of force by officers.

"De-escalation is crucial for law enforcement on every call," the sheriff said. "This funding will ensure that the citizens of Niagara County have the most highly trained police officers responding to calls throughout the county."

Filicetti said the grant funded training will also enhance the introduction of his office's new use of force simulator. The COPS grant has also funded the purchase of the simulator.

The grant will support de-escalation training for two deputies who will then work with their fellow deputies and investigators, as well as other law enforcement agencies across the county, to provide training and simulation exercises "employing proven strategies for responding to challenging calls and keeping communities safe."

Higgins said Congress authorized $31.3 million for the Community Policing Development Program in 2021. Niagara County was one of just seven agencies in New York to be awarded a COPS grant.

The COPS grants were released by the Department of Justice during National Community Policing Week (October 3-9) which celebrates the importance of relationship-building between law enforcement and communities to help create safer neighborhoods.

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