Niagara County Deputy Sean Furey’s partner hails from the Eastern European country that has been known to produce the most “supermodels.” The 85 pound rich sable colored German Shepherd with Czech lines is a rock star in his own right. Although Vedder was not by Deputy Furey’s side last summer when he along with a group of volunteer firefighters, City Police and fellow deputies rescued a man with onset dementia who had wandered from his home 11 days earlier. Although, the man did succumb to his injuries from being outside without food or water, he could spend several weeks with family and loved ones prior to his death. Holding his hand as they exited the woods and being able to communicate with the injured man after such an ordeal is a call that Deputy Furey will never forget. He credits Vedder with taking his law enforcement career to a whole new level as a canine handler. “I now have a partner whose whole intention is to make me happy,” he says. When they are not training, which is done daily, they travel throughout Niagara County assisting other deputies as well as other agencies responding to all in progress calls as well as canine calls such as explosive searches and tracking.
Deputy Furey entered college with an interest in building and architecture. A professor suggested he take an Introduction to Criminal Justice as an elective. He immediately fell for the history and ideology of law enforcement. He changed his degree and never looked back. He started his career in law enforcement long before it was a professional career. During college while working at Tops with his friend Mike Bird, he learned about an internship with the Niagara County Sheriff’s Department, The Cadet Program. The Cadets wore a patrol type uniform and worked alongside various positions with the Sheriff’s Office including time in the jail, dispatch and eventually road patrol. During that internship, he moved to Maryland and worked as a summer officer in the City of Ocean City Police. After which he applied for a position with the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office and was hired in 1999.
While interning with the Sheriff’s Office in 1995, Deputy Furey met fellow Deputy Mike Messina. He had a love for the job and the community that inspired him. Messina was also a commander in the 107th Air National Guard. In 1996, Deputy Furey joined him in the Air Guard. They spent many days working together. He learned a great deal from him. Together they caught a man on the FBI’s Most Wanted List. He considers Deputy Messina one of his biggest inspirations in his law enforcement career.
When we asked Deputy Furey to share what he thought might rank among his favorite achievements he completed in his career and why, he told us he never really kept score of achievements. He goes to work and does what he does, not to keep score, “It’s just who I am”. The way our job works, is a team effort. It’s not one person doing one thing, it’s a system of people coming together. I myself didn’t find that man in the woods, or the FBI’s Most Wanted, it was a group of individuals, working as a team.
Unlike most career occupations, the reality of a career in law enforcement can differ from typical expectations. Deputy Furey admits when he first pictured himself in law enforcement, it was driving fast and chasing down bad guys. However, it is all that and more, it’s working within the community. People rarely call 911 for good reasons. It’s when they are frightened and scared or cannot care for themselves or others that they call upon us. He has seen things that most in society will never see or do. “There are situations that play in my thoughts and dreams that will never go away.” he tells us. “I’ve also got to experience some magical things as well, saved lives, helped people breathe on their own again!
The entire field of law enforcement has changed tremendously since he first began his career. Deputy Furey used to handwrite reports and tickets. There were no computers in cars. Now he can run a license plate, go on line, do research and request a day off without unbuckling his seatbelt.
He is not a fan of social media. I’ve witnessed the internet and social media turn, good people doing courageous jobs, into criminals. He admits to rarely going on line, never watching the news, or even reading the paper anymore for these very reasons. The news I remember growing up with, is no longer. Recently, more people have begun to stand up and support law enforcement. However, a lot of damage has occurred due to the negativity portrayed.
At the end of a day we wanted to know what makes it all worth it. When you see the thankfulness in someone’s eyes, knowing you made some of their pain go away, that’s what makes it worth it. When that child runs to the side of the road to wave to you!
What does Deputy Furey wish our readers knew about law enforcement officers?
We do a job, a career just like you do. We go home to our families, to our bills, to our own issues, just like everyone else. We love and we lose just like you! And we cry, when you can’t see us, because of the things we’ve experienced or failed to do. We see more loss and more hurt than most experience in a lifetime. We do that for you, for our families, so that our families, wouldn’t have to experience it or understand the toll that we carry.
Within the next five years he hopes to be in command of the Canine Unit. With hopes of building a stronger canine training community within the Western New York Region. His personal definition of success is raising strong, happy, loving, children. To have the type of career that when someone mentions his name, they smile and pay a nice compliment. To be able to truly love and be loved.
Deputy Furey is the Chapter Manager for the Niagara County Badge of Honor Association Chapter. He first learned about The Badge of Honor Association when his brother-in-law was shot on duty. Then another colleague was involved in an accident and again BOHA stepped up for Allen and his family. “It was there that I met Justin Collins and other members of BOHA. I was impressed with the fact that these people, just as or even busier than I , what they were doing behind the scenes for officers and their families, involved in critical incidents. I knew I wanted to be a part of it.
Deputy Furey and his team have personally conducted two sign dedication ceremonies honoring fifteen officers throughout Niagara County. He has secured donations for the Badge of Honor Association from neighboring law enforcement agencies and Canada. He has participated in strengthening BOHA’sefforts and reach across Niagara and Erie counties. He recently participated in BOHA’s newest program, Shop With a Cop for Fallen officers children. 2017 marks the 10th Anniversary of The Badge of Honor Association.
Join us on Saturday May 20th for the Policeman’s Ball. For more information visit www.badgeofhonorassociation.com