Alumni Profile: Jason Jelsovsky
Undergraduate degree: Criminal Justice, 2000, Buffalo State College
Current position: Director of Surveillance, Fairgrounds Gaming & Raceway
Duties: Oversee Surveillance operations for Delaware North Companies Subsidiary Gaming and Entertainment Division.
Progression of criminal justice related jobs
Security Officer, Seneca Niagara Casino
I began my career in the Criminal Justice field in 2003 when I accepted a security position with Seneca Niagara Casino. Though the Seneca Nation was relatively new to the gaming industry, they were successful in their goal of obtaining gaming professionals who were willing to share their industry knowledge. I had initially viewed my position as temporary but soon became very interested in the gaming environment. Over the next year I absorbed as much information as I could.
Surveillance Supervisor, Fairgrounds Gaming & Raceway
In January of 2004, I applied for a security position at a new development, Fairgrounds Gaming & Raceway, located in Hamburg, New York. After my initial interview which included specific questions pertaining to the unique gaming environment, to my surprise I was offered a position in the Surveillance unit at Seneca Niagara. Entering the Surveillance operations at Seneca Niagara had been a goal of mine, so I jumped at the opportunity. The following day I received a phone call from Fairgrounds Gaming regarding an interview for a supervisory role in the Surveillance Unit. The following week, I was interviewed and offered the position. I credit this success to the opportunity afforded to me by Seneca Gaming where I was able to learn the structure and function of the gaming environment.
The gaming environment appears on the surface to be almost a stark contrast to the law enforcement community, but in the year to come I would learn that the resemblance was quite striking. In February 2004, I began my new career in an old industry; however, this time I would be observing from the shadows above. As a gaming surveillance agent, you are not just responsible for the operational procedures within your own department and the protection of all company related assets, but you must be versed in each department's policies and procedural protocol. Surveillance staff must be able to view the gaming facility from a different aspect ratio and maintain a working knowledge of complex, ever changing video technology. Surveillance gaming agents work very closely with the New York State Police as well as the internal security personnel when conducting investigations.
From February 2004 until November 30, 2005, as part of the surveillance unit at Fairgrounds Gaming & Raceway, I participated in numerous gaming and criminal investigations. As a surveillance supervisor, I was the direct liaison between all coordinating internal personnel and external departments. In the two years I spent in this position, I developed an ever growing knowledge of the behind the scenes gaming industry the public rarely sees.
Surveillance Director, Fairgrounds Gaming and Raceway
On December 1, 2005, I accepted the position of Surveillance Director at Fairgrounds Gaming and Raceway. In this position my responsibilities have increased tenfold. I am directly responsible for coordinating and running the surveillance operations at Fairgrounds Gaming. The transition was more challenging on a personal level than from an operational standpoint. I am now leading a group of individuals, all of which I consider friends, with a discernable line drawn in the sand. I currently oversee a staff of 12 individuals, petitioning for 15 in the future. I am involved with daily facility operational decisions. I meet weekly with the Board of Directors and our facilities General Manager. I find the working balance, between the surveillance aspect and the responsibilities bestowed upon me as a member of senior management, challenging as well as fulfilling. Fairgrounds Gaming is currently in the beginning stages of our expansion and growth initiative. During this time I have the honor and privilege of working with, and learning from, some of the industry's most dedicated professionals. As I have in the past, I plan to utilize my time here as a learning tool, absorbing as much knowledge as I can. With the tremendous growth of the gaming industry, which now operates in all but 11 states, the future is bright.
I have been married for three years to my beautiful wife, Krista, and have a two year old son, Alex, that keeps me on the move at all times. In July of this coming year we are expecting a second addition to our family. We both feel extremely blessed and excited. Along my career path I carried with me one goal, and that goal was to remain localized in hopes of raising a family here in New York. Although my career path did not lead me into a traditional Criminal Justice role, it provided me with many excellent opportunities to build from. If you believe in yourself and you approach every opportunity as the next step in reaching your goal, doorways to success will open; it's up to you as to how many you will enter. Good luck in your career quests, the educational foundation you have received from the administrative team at Buffalo State College will allow you to overcome any challenges your future holds.