Undersheriff Ready to Hit the Ground Running Come January

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By: Tony Farina

There’s going to be a new sheriff in town in Niagara County, and he is ready to hit the ground running when he takes over in January for the retiring sheriff, Jim Voutour.

Much-decorated Undersheriff Michael Filicetti, who has served as second-in-command to Voutour since January of 2012, tells the Niagara Falls Reporter he won’t need on-the-job training, saying “I’m ready to go, and I consider the sheriff’s department like a second family.”

Undersheriff Filicetti, a registered Republican, has sent formal letters to all the county’s political parties, seeking their support for his run for sheriff next year.

Niagara County GOP Chairman Rich Andres has already met with Filicetti, saying “we left on good terms, but right now I’m focusing on this year’s election next month.”  No surprise there but it certainly would be a surprise if Republicans didn’t line up behind Filicetti next year as he runs for the top job.

On the other side of the political aisle, Niagara County Democratic Chairman Jason Zona, himself a former county legislator, says he will meet with Filicetti this week, adding that he has worked with Filicetti as undersheriff “and he’s done a good job.”  

While both Zona and Andres are understandably focused on next month’s elections, both seem warm to a Filicetti candidacy and it would appear the Lewiston native with 27 years’ experience as a law enforcement officer is in a strong position to win the support of both major parties although a Democratic challenger could certainly emerge next year.

Filicetti says the department faces a lot of challenges in the new age of social media, saying it creates “sort of a double edged sword,” helping in some cases get the word out but also giving others an opportunity to spread false information that can complicate matters. 

One area of high priority for the undersheriff is school safety, and he says he would like to continue to enhance the department’s technology with schools that already helps law enforcement tap into video surveillance cameras in schools, something he calls a “huge plus.”

Undersheriff Filicetti has an associate in science degree in criminal justice from Niagara County Community College and is a 1993 graduate of the Niagara County Law Enforcement Academy, beginning his law enforcement career that same year with the New York State Park Police.

Following his stint with the Park Police, Undersheriff Filicetti worked as a police officer in the village and town of Lewiston police departments and joined the sheriff’s department as a road patrol deputy in 1997.  He was promoted to sergeant in 2007, captain in 2008, and became administrative captain in 2009.

The veteran lawman also attended the highly regarded FBI Investigation National Academy in Quantico, Va., in 2009, a rigorous 10-week program which featured specialized classroom and field interaction with command-level officers from around the world.

Among his many citations and commendations are multiple awards for a water rescue at Niagara Falls in 1995.  His record also includes three sheriff’s excellence awards and three departmental citations.

Filicetti, who lives with his wife and two children in his native Lewiston, is a past president of the Judges and Police Conference of Niagara County.

If ever a second-in-command was ready to step into the top job, it would appear Undersheriff Filicetti is that person.  He has risen through the ranks, received numerous awards and citations, and has the experience in the department to hit the ground running, as he says, come January.

It would appear that while the three-term outgoing sheriff has performed in exemplary fashion, there is no reason to believe the new sheriff will not continue to serve at that same high level, providing Niagara County residents a top cop with the experience and law enforcement credentials that would seem to make him a perfect fit to take over.

 

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