New State Police Commander focused on recruitment
By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com
Jeffrey Van Auken, the new Troop C commander for the New York State Police, has come a long way in his career.
He is a Navy veteran who was deployed to Iraq and the Middle East at multiple points, the last time as an intelligence officer.
Now he’s focusing on recruiting for the State Police. He especially wants to draw from those whose backgrounds encompass the coverage area that include parts of Otsego County such as Oneonta, Cooperstown, and Richfield Springs. Troop C’s headquarters are in Sidney.
“I think it would be a better service to our community to have local troopers,” Major Van Auken said in an interview with AllOtsego.com “We’re trying to get a more diverse group of candidates that reflect our community.
We’re trying to get a nice cross-section of candidates that can take the test to qualify as troopers.”
He said of the two best jobs in the State Police, one would be trooper and the other one is troop commander.
“It’s an honor to become the troop commander,” Major Van Auken said. “I started my career in Troop C and made it to commander. I think I’ve hit both of the best parts of the job that they can offer.”
He said there are a lot of misconceptions about being a state trooper, including the scope of their job.
“People think state troopers are just ‘highway patrol,’ working the highways, writing tickets, and that sort of thing. The New York State Police is a full-service police department,” Major Van Auken said. “We do criminal work, complaints, county patrol, and highway patrol.”
“(The New York State Police) is very similar to any other police department, but in a more rural setting. We handle everything including calls outside of the city, incorporated cities and villages,” he said. “We have specialized units. We have major crimes. We have our Bureau of Criminal Investigation. We have our aviation units, our unmanned aerial surveillance systems (UAS) our underwater recovery team, which formerly we would call SCUBA. We have every specialty unit that you could think of that any major police department would have as well.”
He said the State Police also have a special operations team which responds to search and rescue, barricaded individuals, and armed encounters.
“We’re quite diversified,” Major Van Auken said. “We have a lot of different things that people can branch into once they come on the job.”
Major Van Auken urges those interested in joining the state police to go to joinstatepolice.ny.gov for more information.
“They have a few testing sites. I think they have in the hundreds,” Major Van Auken said. “Even for military personnel overseas. We’ve really opened it up to everybody to have the opportunity.”
Good luck finding anyone not on opioids it those communities. Their ancestors who built these communities from nothing would be rolling in their graves if they saw what their offspring did to the entire county.