AKWESASNE - The St. Regis Mohawk Tribe’s two newest police officers graduated from the Zone 9 Police Academy on July 11 while surrounded by family and friends.
The eight officers who graduated were from the Clinton County Sheriff Department, Franklin County Sheriff Department, Plattsburgh Police Department and the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police.
Officer Julie Smoke, daughter of Doug and Diane Smoke, was one of two female graduates. She received the Overall Achievement Award in recognition of outstanding effort and scholastic achievement.
Officer Tyson Lazare is the son of Michelle and Chris Lazare.
Both police officer trainees were accepted for employment by the St. Regis Mohawk Tribal Police. The agency then sponsored the trainees in the academy’s basic police training program. They will begin their careers as patrol persons.
The training consisted of 639 hours of classroom and practical exercises in subjects such as administration of justice, introduction to law enforcement, laws of New York, law enforcement skills, community interaction, mass casualties and major events, and investigations.
The 20-week academy is held approximately once a year for the various police agencies in the Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties.
The graduation ceremony was held at Plattsburgh City Hall with Academy Director Ronnie Santor providing the welcome and opening remarks. Dignitaries Lt. Scott Beebie, Assemblywoman Janet Duprey, New York State Police Senior Investigator Pat Keheler and Class Leader Lee Lavalley offered words of support and appreciation for the honorable service the new officers will provide.
Acting Tribal Police Chief Matthew Rourke presented Ms. Smoke and Mr. Tyson with their graduation certificates.
Following the formal ceremony, guests in attendance were treated to a video highlighting many of the field training subjects including one called “spray day” where trainees experience the feeling of being pepper sprayed. That one of the least favorite academy exercises, the officers said.
“We are so fortunate to have two of our outstanding young people willing seek out an education and make a commitment to serve the people and community of Akwesasne,” Tribal Chief Ron LaFrance said.