Acting Niagara County Sheriff Gives Views on Prisoner Reform and Opioid Abuse

Acting Sheriff Michael Filicetti has spent almost three decades in law enforcement steadily working his way up the ranks.  This is a lot of time to opine upon structural changes within the Sheriff’s Department, and Filicetti has no shortage of ideas for todays challenges. 

Sharing views on prisoner reform at the Niagara County jail, and how to lower the recidivism rate, Filicetti stated, “We’re trying to give them a set of skills, so they don’t come back.”

The Acting Sheriff has been heavily involved with the Niagara County jail since his ascension into an administrative position in 2012.  During this time, he’s been a large part of implementing BOCES programs into the jail, teaching things like carpentry and culinary skills. 

The next items on that list if he takes role of Sheriff full-time come a November election, small engine repair and welding, which would significantly add to an offender’s resume upon release.

Filicetti shifted gears to the opioid epidemic in Niagara County, emphasizing a push for more Narcan availability and training, “It’s a miracle drug, it only helps people,” he stated.  The drug completely reverses the impact of a heroin overdose and can quickly save the life of someone in crisis.

“You can’t arrest your way out of this…” stated Filicetti, lamenting next the need for ‘quick-response teams’ consisting of law enforcement and a mental health professional to approach recent overdose survivors, offering resources for help in finding rehabilitation.  Filicetti remarked on these teams vital function to those suffering from addiction who need help at that moment, “Sometimes there is a lag, and that is dangerous.”

The Acting Sheriff then tackled improvements in radio communications, and projects to come, “We’re adding 5 towers to tie the radio system in areas where we desire better in-building coverage.”  Although each communication tower will cost around a million dollars to erect, the taxpayers are not holding the bill for this one.  The project will be funded in its entirety through grant funding and surcharge fees processed when residents pay fines.

Lastly, Filicetti gave a statement on something he feels strongly for, “School resource officers are really important to me.  Right now, I think we need to add a few more than what we have.”

He continued, “I’m going to continue to try and find funding for S.R.O.’s in the couple of schools that don’t have them.”