Chief Michael Ames

Chief Ames began his career in government service as a member of the New York Army National Guard when he was called to active duty following the attacks on 9/11/2001. He deployed to various locations around the state in support of Operation Noble Eagle before being deployed with the 1st Infantry Division to Iraq for a nearly 18 month combat deployment. After returning from Iraq in 2005 the Chief relocated to Potsdam and began completing his degree in Criminal Justice from SUNY Canton, the final semester of which was completion of the David Sullivan Police Academy. The Chief separated from the Army National Guard in 2013 after 13 years. 

Chief Ames joined the Potsdam Police Department on August 22, 2006 and was sworn in as Chief on Aug 22, 2023. Chief Ames spent 5 years as an Officer and was assigned to the St. Lawrence County Drug Task Force and the Border Enforcement Security Task Force with the Department of Homeland Security Investigations in addition to his patrol duties. He was promoted to the Rank of Sergeant in 2011, and Lieutenant in 2016, continuing to develop his role as an investigator and trainer throughout the progression.  

As an investigator Chief Ames became experienced in death investigations, sex crimes, complex narcotics investigations, and crimes against children. He holds advanced training certificates in the areas of interview and interrogation, conducting forensic examination of electronic evidence, response to missing children incidents, and search warrant preparation.  

Chief Ames is passionate about his role as a trainer and educator in the North Country law enforcement community. In 2011, Chief Ames became a DCJS certified general topics instructor and went on to become certified in the specialty fields of firearms, defensive tactics, fitness, and law enforcement active shooter event response. He is a frequent presenter at both area police academies on various topics, and often presents to schools and businesses on active shooter survival. It is his belief that professional development is a process with no end and has worked to continue advancing the capabilities of every member of his staff with quality training opportunities routinely. 

Chief Ames takes great pride in his ability to carry on a family legacy of leadership in North County Law Enforcement. The Chief’s grandfather, Chief (Ret.) Robert Ames, was a thirty-nine year veteran of the Canton Police Department, 19 of which were as Chief. His father, Lieutenant (Ret.) Michael H. Ames, retired after a thirty-two year career in law enforcement, the first twenty-four of which were with the St. Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office Criminal Division and final eight with the NYS Unified Court System. 

Maintaining a contemporary approach to policing in the Village of Potsdam is paramount in the Chief’s mission; He sees staying current with enforcement strategies, law enforcement technologies and societal changes is critical to keep a small department like Potsdam PD able to serve the community at the level they deserve. He has spent years developing strong relationships within the law enforcement community and the greater Potsdam community as a whole. 

       The Chief welcomes community feedback on any issue facing the community. The community feedback tab on this website is a direct line of communication to him, or you can reach him by email at, or by calling the office during business hours.