ONEONTA – The mayor and a senior Council member have already opened conversations with Police Chief Doug Brenner on how to review departmental operations in the wake of nationwide unrest following the May 25 death of George Floyd while being taking into custody in Minneapolis.
“First of all, I have confidence in our police chief and police department,” Mayor Gary Herzig said a few minutes ago. “However, this is a time for all of us to do a little introspection and self-awareness and take a look at our operating procedures and our policies to make sure they are designed to do everything that we can to guard against any type of inequality in how we treat the public.”
He expects to be able to announce the form of the review – whether a commission, audit of OPD procedures, through Common Council or some other means – by the end of this week.
ONEONTA – In an average ID check at a downtown Oneonta bar, city police officers might discover “20 or so” fake IDs in all, according to Chief Douglas Brenner.
On Friday, Nov. 15, they 10 times that: 226 fake and altered IDs in a check at the Sip & Sail Tavern, 88 Water St.
“That’s not even all of them,” said Brenner. “Due to time constraints, we wrote 138 tickets and turned the rest over to the DMV; they’ll help us track down the others to issue tickets.”
After receiving tips that “several” local bars were serving underage drinkers, Brenner put together a joint effort between the police, the state Liquor Authority and the county Sheriff’s Department to spend the evening checking that Center City bars were obeying state law.
“We go in, tell the bartender to turn off the music and turn on the lights, then we ask to see everyone’s identification,” said Brenner. “We had officers outside and at all the exits, and the sheriffs would escort a few out at a time to meet with officers and get ticketed.”
But, it turned out, nearly all of the bar’s patrons were carrying fake IDs – some had two or three – and after three hours, the officers ran out of paper to print the tickets on, and called it a night.
“We didn’t even get to any other bars,” said Brenner. “It’s one thing to pick up a person here or there, but we haven’t even sifted through all the tickets yet.”
It’s by far the biggest raid to date.
Second biggest was in February 2016, a double raid of Legends Filling Station and Choice Ultra Lounge.
At Choice Ultra Lounge, 70 of 84 patrons were under 21. At Legends, state investigators found 13 violations, including 11 underage sales.
Though fake IDs are getting more and more sophisticated, bars are required to monitor patrons and only serve customers of legal age, said Brenner.
“Bars have ways of keeping on top of fake IDs,” he said. “They have scanners and devices, they need to be a little more conscientious. The bar can get in trouble, not to mention that someone who is drinking underage might get themselves into a bad situation.”
Choice Ultra Lounge had their license suspended and has remained shuttered; Legends had their license suspended for two weeks until a hearing, then paid a fine and re-opened.
The Sip & Sail’s liquor license is held by Adrian Origoni. An investigation by the state Liquor Authority is ongoing, and according to spokesperson Bill Crowley, charges – including suspension or revocation – may be pending.
Those in possession of a fake ID can be hit with a fine from the courts or have their license revoked by the DMV, Brenner said. “It fits the definition of possession of a forged instrument, which is a felony,” he said. “But we usually write it up as a traffic infraction. It’s easier on an 18- or 19-year-old who’s just trying to have some fun.”
But Brenner hopes that this will be a wake-up call to anyone who is thinking about using a fake ID.
“I want students to understand the risks,” he said. “It’s not just unlawful, but you are sending your real name, your real address, your real birth day and month, to someone overseas. It’s not a smart idea to put that information out there. It could lead to ID theft.”
ONEONTA – Police arrested a Laurens man Monday afternoon after complaints that he was exposing himself in Neahwa Park.
Keith Holbrook, 71, Laurens, was arrested after Oneonta Police received complaints from the area of the park near the I-88 overpass. “Someone called and said they felt like he was watching them,” said Police Chief Doug Brenner. “Then he stepped out and exposed himself.”
ONEONTA – An 18 year old SUNY Oneonta student was injured after allegedly undressing and jumping from the top of the Municipal Parking Garage in downtown Oneonta.
At 10:30 p.m. Friday night, police received a call from a passerby that a man had fallen from the top level of the parking garage onto Chestnut Street extension. When EMTs arrived, the man allegedly told them that he was a stuntman attempting a stunt in trying to jump to the second level. He allegedly threw his clothes to the street and jumped from the top level, but caught his ankles on the railing and fell.
ONEONTA – Preliminary results have revealed that “multiple drugs,” including amphetamines and benzodiazepines, were found in Daniel William Michaels’ system as Oneonta Police continue to investigate the death of the 18 year old SUNY Oneonta student.
On Saturday, Dec. 2 at 12:05 a.m., police received a call for assistance at an apartment at 34 Academy Street. “Some students were looking for a friend at that house and when they went in, they saw Michaels unconscious on the sofa,” said Police Chief Doug Brenner. “They couldn’t wake him up, so alerted someone living in the house and called the police.”
ONEONTA – Oneonta Police and Otsego County District Attorney John Muehl are investigating a death in police custody last evening, after a man arrested on narcotics-trafficking charges swallowed what might have been cocaine, according to Police Chief Douglas Brenner.
To Brenner’s knowledge, this is the first time a suspect has died in OPD custody.
Kenneth J. Faulkner, 52, New Rochelle, was arrested on a warrant at about 5 p.m. at 85 Ford Ave., and taken to the city’s Public Safety Building, Brenner said. About 5:35 p.m., a second warrant was served at the building, allowing “a body search. “
“He was on the threshold of the door of the holding cell, and in three seconds he had managed to close the door and get the drugs into his mouth,” Brenner said in a interview this afternoon. “The officer opened the door and tried to get him to spit out the drugs.”
ONEONTA – Patricia Crow, 14 Myrtle Ave, told Oneonta Common Council that she spotted a fox near her home in Center City on Thursday, Sept. 14.
“I clearly sighted a fox traveling across my neighbor’s back yard.” she said. “Never in my nearly 70 years have I seen a fox in Center City.”
Though she warned that foxes were “not safe for the citizens of Oneonta,” The Humane Society says that foxes are not considered dangerous and are generally scared of humans, especially if they make a loud noise. Dogs and adult cats are generally safe from foxes, but kittens, rabbits and other small animals could be considered prey and should be kept inside.
However, Police Chief Doug Brenner says there has been an “uptick” in sick animals, namely skunks, including four in one week. “These animals were not well,” he said. “They were rolling in the street.”