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Niagara County Sheriff's Department (New York)

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Christopher J. Carlin

William D. Tolhurst

About the Niagara County Sheriff's Department

On April 2, 1821, Niagara County separated from what became Erie County, retaining all lands north of Tonawanda Creek. By this time that area contained the original towns of Niagara, Lewiston, Porter, Wilson, Cambria, Hartland and Royalton. The county seat was first located in the Village of Lewiston, and the first court session of the newly divided county held at the school house in Lewiston in what is today known as Academy Park.


Today, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department is a modern law enforcement agency where sheriff deputies use red and white patrol vehicles to respond to calls for service. The Niagara County Sheriff’s Department deputies in the patrol division work frozen shifts, 8:00 am to 4:00 pm, 4:00 pm to 12:00 pm, 12:00 pm to 8:00 am, assignment is based on seniority. A Sheriff's Captain and Sergeant supervise each shift. The twelve towns in the county are divided into zones numbered 1 through 12. A deputy is assigned to patrol a designated zone responding to calls in that area.


Like most county sheriff’s, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department has a large custody function. The first Niagara County Jail, built in the Village of Buffalo, was completed in 1810. The structure, a solidly built stone building had been erected just north of the courthouse on Washington Street. In 1813, the British invaded and burned the village including the jail. Fortunately, the building being so solid suffered little damage. After some rehabilitation, the building served as the jail until Erie County constructed a new one in 1867. After the redistricting of Erie and Niagara Counties in 1821, all county buildings were retained by Erie County. Until Niagara County could build a jail of its own, prisoners continued to be housed in the Buffalo facility.


In addition to patrol and custody functions, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department has a number of specialized functions such as the Aviation Unit; Civil Process Division; Communications; Community Services; Crime Scene Identification; Criminal Investigation Bureau; DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education); Domestic Violence; Drug Task Force; Forensic Lab; Juvenile Bureau; Law Enforcement Academy; Marine Division; Mounted Division; Records Department; Transport, Court & Building Security Division; Underwater Recovery; Victims Assistance Unit; Warrant Division; Welfare Fraud Unit; and, youth Explorer Program


The Niagara County Sheriff’s Department Aviation Unit consists of three Bell Jet Ranger helicopters, four pilots and eight tactical flight officers. The unit performs aviation operations in support of the Niagara County Sheriff Department and local police agencies. Typical operations include drug interdiction, search and rescue operations and aerial surveillance. Unit members must pass flight physicals and be trained in a wide variety of equipment that is used during the normal unit operations.




Selected book by a Niagara County Sheriff's Department law enforcement official.

The police textbook for dog handlers
William D Tolhurst  More Info

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