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City Council Votes Down FBI Training Request For Police Capt.

Pictured, at right, is Capt. Robert Samuelson of the Jamestown Police Department. P-J file photo

A request to have a captain with the Jamestown Police Department attend the FBI National Academy in Quantico, Virginia was shot down Monday in a unanimous vote by members of the Jamestown City Council.

A resolution that, if approved, would have permitted Capt. Robert Samuelson to attend the academy for two months beginning July 11 had passed the council’s Public Safety Committee. However, the resolution was pulled from the council’s agenda after concerns were raised about losing a high-ranking member of the department while gun crimes have been increasing locally.

Nonetheless, Councilman Andrew Faulkner on Monday requested the resolution be voted on, citing the dates May 16, May 15, May 12, May 4, May 3 and May 2.

“Those are all dates from a two-week period this month,” Faulkner said. “Each one represents an incident where the Jamestown Police Department recovered an illegal firearm that was on the street of Jamestown. Nobody can deny that right now is a time of increased gun violence and gun crime.”

He added, “Tonight one of our resolutions that passed was to add three police officers to the force in order to combat gun crime and quality of life issues. This shows that the Jamestown Police Jamestown needs full staffing, and then some, in order to combat our current issues.”

Each member on the council voted no, including Faulkner, though there was some confusion immediately afterward as to whether the council had voted down bringing the resolution to the floor or voted down the resolution outright.

After the meeting, Council President Tony Dolce said concerns had been raised by other members of the council earlier over sending a member of the department away on training while there was a noticeable increase in gun crimes. “There were concerns about sending someone at this particular time because of gun violence and having an administrator go and so forth,” Dolce told reporters.

The FBI National Academy is a 10-week program for U.S. and international law enforcement managers that provides coursework in intelligence theory, terrorism and terrorist mindsets, management science, law, behavioral science, law enforcement communication, and forensic science.

Locally, Chautauqua County Sheriff James Quattrone and Undersheriff Rich Telford have graduated from the academy.

Asked about the vote, Police Chief Timothy Jackson said he respected the council’s decision and thanked members of the council for agreeing to hire three new police officers. However, he questioned whether the correct procedure had been followed in regard to voting on a resolution not on the agenda.

“The FBI National Academy is a training opportunity that will not only further our relationship with federal law enforcement partners to combat gun violence, but also aid in many areas of investigative ability,” he said. “Additionally, in my time at the Jamestown Police Department, the department had at least one FBI National Academy graduate in its ranks. Since 2020, the Jamestown Police Department has not had a graduate in its ranks.”

Further, the police chief said the time in which the academy is held, the department would have “additional manpower compared to previous years when an officer attended the academy.”

He added, “We will not be taking an officer off the street in order for Capt. Samuelson to attend the academy. Officers of this department attend training year round. For example, at this time there are officers attending a (New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services) school. As director of public safety, protecting the public is my priority and I am a firm believer that well-trained staff leads to better services and inherently reduces liability on the city of Jamestown. If I believed his attendance would jeopardize public safety and be a hinderance to the operations of the police department he would not be attending.”

Jackson said Samuelson could still attend the academy at his direction, with the police captain paying for the attendance.

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