City of Oneonta

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Special Units

Special Response Team (SRT)

The City of Oneonta Police Department's SRT is a specialized unit, formed in 1991, to provide a rapid response to high risk situations requiring techniques, equipment, and specialized training beyond that offered to non-assigned patrol officers.

All SRT members hold other full-time sworn positions within the Oneonta Police Department's Uniformed Patrol or Detective Divisions. Applicants are selected on the basis of their motivation, experience, level of physical fitness, and firearms proficiency.

Furthermore, members are required to maintain a high standard of physical fitness and weapons-handling proficiency throughout their assignment to the team. The SRT  trains on a monthly basis, and is trained and equipped to handle assignments such as hostage situations, barricaded suspects, high-risk arrest and search warrants, and active shooter incidents.

The mission of the Oneonta Police Department Special Response Team is to support the Oneonta Police Department and any other requesting law enforcement agency with a tactical or specialized response to critical incidents. Critical incidents consist of, but are not limited to, the following:

  •     Hostage Situations: The holding of any person(s) against their will by an armed or disturbed suspect(s).
  •     Barricade Situations: The standoff created by an armed or potentially armed suspect in any location, whether fortified or not, who is refusing to comply with police orders.
  •     Sniper Situations: The firing upon citizens and/or police by an armed suspect, whether stationary or mobile.
  •     High-Risk Apprehension: The arrest or apprehension of an armed or potentially armed suspect(s), or where the likelihood of resistance is high.
  •     High-Risk Warrant Service: The service of search or arrest warrants where the service of the warrant requires the use of special equipment and/or trained personnel.
  •     Personal Protection: The security of persons based on threat or potential threat to the well being of those persons.
  •     Special Assignments: Any assignment approved by the Chief of Police or Office of the Lieutenant, based upon the degree of potential threat.
  •     Critical Incidents: Any situation, emergency or disaster where specialized training and equipment will provide safety, stability and response.

SRT Officers receive extensive training. The "Basic Operators Course" is where officers learn the fundamentals of police tactical operations.

Team members are taught tactics that emphasize safe resolutions to volatile situations. Beyond this, officers also receive "Specialized Tactical Training" and instruction in:

Forcible Entry Tools and Techniques, Less-Lethal and Non-Lethal Systems, Specialized Apprehension Techniques, Vehicle Rescues, Animal Control Systems, Rigging & Line Rescue, Explosives Recognition & Handling, and Crime Scene Response. Within this training section, the officers are introduced to and become familiar with a wide variety of specialized tools and equipment.

The City of Oneonta SRT is supplemented by and trains in conjunction with the Oneonta Fire Department's Tactical Emergency Medical Services (OTEMS) Team. OTEMS is based with the City of Oneonta Fire Department, and provides highly skilled and educated Tactical Medics who can facilitate immediate and long term pre-hospital care to law enforcement, bystander and suspect. The mission of OTEMS is to extend the scope of SRT, by providing quick, quality patient care in any tactical setting.

Pictured below are the members of the Oneonta PD Special Response team flanked by the Oneonta Tactical Emergency Medics



The Oneonta Police Department bike patrol was founded in the Fall of 1991 with Officers Steven Havens and Dave Watson patrolling the city on the department's two new TREK police bicycles. The department now has six TREK mountain bikes and six trained bike officers. The bike patrol is supervised by Sgt. George Flavell and consists of Sgt. Ralph Pajerski and Officers Joseph Tiemann, Jeffrey Gallusser, Phil Kraft, Charles Whitmore, and Eric Berger.  The bike officers are usually out in pairs on weekend nights during the Fall and Spring and ride solo during the day and evening over the summer.

The officers attend a one week bicycle patrol school that includes educational and practical instruction on the operation of mountain bikes, fitness, nutrition, techniques, and application of community policing strategies. The practical instruction on the operation of mountain bikes includes such training as riding over obstacles, going up and down stairs, safe bicycling in large groups and in traffic, bicycling in confined areas, use of the bicycle to subdue offenders and firearms manipulation while on bike patrol.

The bike patrol has proven to be highly effective at locating offenders in cases ranging from minor violations of city ordinances such as open containers and unlawful possession of alcohol, to more serious crimes such as driving while intoxicated and assault. The mobility of the bicycle allows the officers to patrol areas that are inaccessible to patrol vehicles while at the same time covering a larger area than a foot patrol. While easily identifiable in their reflective bike uniforms and police gear, the silence of the bikes as well as their ability to ride off the roadways allows officers to approach people and complaints with a degree of stealth patrol vehicles can't achieve.

Bike officers also perform community services such as instructing at bike rodeos for children and providing security and traffic control for parades and community events. They have the ability to interact with more city residents and visitors and serve as another means of promoting the community-policing philosophy to which the Oneonta Police Department is committed.


The primary mission of DARE (Drug Abuse Resistance Education) is to provide children with the information and skills they need to live drug-and-violence-free lives. Its mission is to equip kids with the tools that will enable them to avoid negative influences and instead allow them to focus on their strengths and potential.

The DARE program is also designed to develop positive relationships between students and law enforcement, teachers, parents, and other community leaders. Every youngster should have the opportunity to grow-up healthy, safe, secure, and equipped with the skills needed to succeed in life. Contemporary America, however, is rampant with challenges that could keep children from a positive life path.

View the national DARE website


D.A.R.E. began as a collaborative effort between the LAPD and the Los Angeles Unified School District in 1983, designed to educate students about the personal and social consequences of substance abuse and violence. Millions of U.S. children in more than 300,000 classrooms in 10,000 communities in all 50 states will benefit from D.A.R.E. this year. D.A.R.E. also benefits millions of children in 53 other countries. Additionally, all Department of Defense Schools worldwide and all U.S. Territories have D.A.R.E. programs in place. More than 50,000 local law enforcement officers are certified to teach the D.A.R.E. program.

Since its beginnings, the DARE program has undergone multiple revisions as research findings have increased knowledge of effective substance abuse prevention techniques among school-aged youth. The City of Oneonta Police Department believes in the mission established by the DARE program and dedicates a certified and sworn officer from the Department to facilitate the instruction. Oneonta Police Detective Jennifer Torres is assigned as the DARE Officer for the police department and brings over 10 years of police experience to the program.  Detective Torres facilitates the program in all of the City of Oneonta elementary schools at the 5th and 6th grade levels. When Detective Torres is not in the classroom, she serves as a Juvenile Detective where she investigates offenses involving Juveniles.


The new K-12 D.A.R.E. curricula lessons focus on:

  •     Strong "NO USE" message
  •     Immediate consequences
  •     Normative beliefs
  •     Consequential thinking (Problem solving and conflict management)
  •     Self-management skills
  •     Voluntary commitment
  •     Credible presenter
  •     Character Education
  •     Protective factors
  •     Interactive participatory learning
  •     Social resistance skills
  •     Violence prevention
  •     Alternatives
  •     Role-modeling
  •     Set curriculum and quality training