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University Police Welcomes Two New Officers at SUNY Plattsburgh

Two SUNY Plattsburgh University Police recruits are now official police officers, having graduated from the Zone 9 Police Academy Feb. 5.

Officers Justin Courtade and Derek Wiebel join eight other officers, three lieutenants, an inspector, assistant chief and chief at the SUNY Plattsburgh University Police department.

“I couldn’t be more proud,” said University Police Interim Chief Jerry Lottie of the department’s two newest officers.

Lottie said they will both be assets to the department going forward. And not only are they good at what they do, “they’re excellent people,” Lottie said.

Academic Achievement Award

For the third year in a row, a University Police recruit took the award for highest academic achievement in the academy graduating class. The recruits take eight tests and a final exam throughout the 18-week training program.

This year, that award was bestowed on Wiebel.

“It’s an honor because it was really hard work,” Wiebel said. “I have to thank the other recruits because they really pushed me.”

Officer Derek Wiebel

Wiebel, 26, holds a bachelor’s degree in sport management from SUNY Brockport. He relocated to the North Country from Hannibal, N.Y., with his wife, Danielle, and their young son, Deacon.

“So far, it’s been amazing. We’ve really been accepted (into the community),” he said. “We look forward to a long career here.”

Officer Justin Courtade

Courtade, 24, graduated from Utica College with a bachelor’s degree in criminal justice. He is from Athol Springs, N.Y., near Buffalo.

“It was very warm and welcoming when I got here,” Courtade said of the SUNY Plattsburgh campus and larger community. He said he felt at home in the police department right away.

While the Police Academy requires four weeks of field training, University Police requires 12 weeks, so Courtade and Wiebel have another eight weeks where they will train while on patrol with more experienced officers.

During this time, the two new officers will learn more about police protocols specific to University Police.

“We’ll continue to monitor their growth in the area of police practices,” Lottie said.

The Zone 9 Police Academy has been in operation since 1962.

The program is directed by Ron Santor and instructors include representatives from the Plattsburgh City Police Department, New York State Police, the Clinton County Office of Emergency Services and the Clinton County District Attorney’s Office. 

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