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Buffalo firearms instructor convicted for falsifying firearms training course completions

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Posted at 12:25 PM, Jul 22, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-22 12:25:55-04

NEW YORK (WKBW) — New York State Attorney General Letitia James announced a Buffalo firearms instructor has pleaded guilty to defrauding the state and students and falsifying firearms training course completions.

According to the AG's office, 66-year-old Dennis Brennan of South Wales owned and directed the Peace Officer Training Academy of Buffalo, NY.

Between 2016 and 2019, Brennan offered security guard training courses required to obtain or maintain an armed security guard license at his academy. The AG's office says on several occasions Brennan accepted payment from students for the courses and then provided them with fraudulent completion certificates.

Brennan never required the students to fire their weapons and he did not provide training on the safe and proper use of firearms, as mandated by the Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS), according to the AG's office.

In NYS, security guard students must complete a 47 hour firearms training course before obtaining their armed security guard license and must complete an annual eight hour firearms training course to maintain their license. A requirement for completing both courses is for students to train and fire with their duty type handgun and achieve a minimum qualifying score.

"The DCJS issues peace officer certifications to individuals who successfully complete an approved peace officer training course once an approved instructor provides documentation that all rules and regulations surrounding that course are followed," a release from the AG's office states. "Brennan knowingly marketed and provided peace officer training courses to civilians, though he was fully aware that his academy was not authorized to issue such certifications to civilians. Brennan kept the tuition money paid by the individuals who remained in the course, which amounted to over $1,000 per student."

Brennan pleaded guilty in Erie County Court to one count of offering a false instrument for filing in the first degree and one count of scheme to defraud in the first degree. He was also directed to surrender all his weapons and have his license revoked.

Brennan was arraigned February 26, 2020 and is scheduled to be sentenced on September 21, 2020.

“We won’t tolerate those who put greed over the safety of our communities,” said Attorney General James. “By enabling individuals to have guns without adequate training and clearance, Dennis Brennan put others at risk. I will continue to fight to uphold measures designed to protect our communities from gun violence.”