News of Otsego County

Serving Otsego County, NY, through the combined reporting of Cooperstown's Freeman's Journal and the Hometown Oneonta newspapers.


Doug Brenner

BRENNER: Oneonta Police Will Listen To Concerns

Oneonta Police Will

Listen To Concerns

To the Editor:

Contemporary law enforcement is as dynamic and challenging as we seen during any of our careers in law enforcement. While we who have chosen this profession watch national trends, tragedies and triumphs and shared challenges, we are uniquely Oneontan.

OPD Chief Doug Brenner

We have had some low moments in this department that have prompted, over time, a near-complete overhaul of the agency. These changes were a response, in some cases, to public demands and outcry, internal investigations, independent investigations, changes in police training and best practices, court rulings and, as with any law enforcement agency, changes in State and Federal Statues.

Calls for change have been consistently applied and reviewed, and in 2014 the City of Oneonta Police Department became a New York State Accredited Police Agency. Part of State Accreditation is ongoing review of best practices for law enforcement and best practices both inside of New York and across the nation.

We, the City of Oneonta Police Department assure you, The People, the most important part of our city, that we continue to progress each day toward the goal of being better than the day before. In 2019, we achieved re-accreditation as we strive to provide the most professional police services possible.

While we are deeply troubled and saddened by national events, our true concerns lie here at home with this community. We take great pride in wearing the uniform of a city Police Department.

Local Law Enforcement is a total immersion undertaking. We get to know many of our local citizens, citizen students, business owners and workers from out of the area. Our effectiveness increases with community support and open dialogue.

We want to hear your concerns and use them as an opportunity for growth and improvement. We will stand with you in every aspect of denouncing practices that hurt, demean and destroy trust in our agency and work to ensure those practices do not occur in the City of Oneonta.

We have had conversations with groups and individuals regarding how to operate as an agency. From our most junior officer to the chief of the department we all welcome constructive dialogue and we encourage anyone to ask us questions should the opportunity arise. We are proud to work here and love the opportunity to talk about the community, the issues we face and challenges that are inherent in the profession.

Community activism and involvement runs deeply in this community, it is one of the hallmarks of civil society and a sacrosanct right we swore an oath to uphold.

We are incredibly proud of the most recent example of a local demonstration regarding a larger national conversation assembled and completed in an honorable and peaceful manner.

Yours in service,

Chief of Police
City of Oneonta

Oneonta Enjoys A Colorful 4th of July


Colors Abound

At Oneonta’s 4th

Dr. Joe Rufrano barrels through a cloud of color during the annual Color Run that kicked off today’s annual Hometown Fourth of July celebration in Neahwa Park.  The celebration continued with a parade at noon, followed with live music, food, vendors, bounce houses, demonstrations, and more. Fireworks will follow this evening night. (Ian Austin/
Brenner, Burns Honored For Work With Recovery Community

Brenner, Burns Honored For

Work With Recovery Community

Julie Dostal, Executive Director of LEAF, left, and Deborah Berrios, Director of FOR-DO, right, presented awards to Oneonta Police Chief Doug Brenner, and Otsego County Judge Brian Burns (award accepted by Court Attorney Nathan Getman) at the 9th annual Here Comes The Sun Recovery Awards Dinner on Friday evening. Chief Brenner received the Robert S. Sioussat Appreciation Award for outstanding contribution and service to alcohol, tobacco and other drug problem prevention, while Judge Burns received the FOR-DO Amethyst Award in recognition of his efforts to support the local recovery community. (Ian Austin/


Man Honored For Aiding Chief Brenner in July 4th Fight

Man Honored For Aiding

Police Chief In Fight On 4th

Franklin Weideck, Wells Bridge, receives a certificate of commendation and a commemorative law enforcement medallion from Police Chief Doug Brenner during tonight’s Common Council meeting. Weindeck came to Brenner’s rescue after an intoxicated man began to attack him during the Fourth of July festivities. (Ian Austin/

By CATHY NARDI • Special to

ONEONTA – An ordinary citizen risked injury to help the city’s police chief in a dangerous situation, and tonight Common Council said thanks.

Franklin Weideck, Wells Bridge, was attending the Hometown Fourth of July celebration in Neahwa Park when he saw Police Chief Douglas Brenner on the ground struggling to control a violent suspect.

“I was aware of an individual who seemed to have a little bit too much to drink,” Brenner said. “I wandered off of the beaten path to keep an eye on him.  I saw people around this guy. He had fallen and he had gotten up and tried to sit on a rail and fell off of that and bloodied his nose.”

Detective Sgt. Witzenburg Top Choice As OPT Lieutenant

Detective Sgt. Witzenburg

Top Choice As OPT Lieutenant

Detective Sgt. Christopher Witzenburg will be recommended to Common Council for appointment as the new Lieutenant of the Oneonta Police Department.

ONEONTA – Detective Sgt. Christopher J. Witzenburg will be recommended to a Common Council vote as Chief Doug Brenner’s top choice for Lieutenant during their meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 5.

“He’s a natural choice,” said Brenner.  “We work very well together and have through our entire career.”

Council Officially Appoints Doug Brenner As Police Chief

Council Officially Appoints

Doug Brenner As Police Chief

Mayor Gary Herzig, right, congratulates Doug Brenner after Common Council officially voted to appoint him as Chief of the Oneonta Police Department. “I feel the most important public office one can hold is that of Public Safety,” said Herzig, “and that is why I felt it was important to do a thorough search for this position. I am more than confident that he is the person for the job and I am proud to recommend him.” After the motion was passed, a grinning Brenner was applauded by council members and city officials on his appointment which officially begins tomorrow. “It feels good to put this to rest,” said Brenner, “It will be nice to be able to move forward and focus my time on other projects.” While a Lieutenant has not officially been named, the Chief says they are in the process of searching. Doug Brenner will officially be sworn in as Chief on Saturday at 9am in Council chambers. (Ian Austin/
Search Committee  Selected Brenner


Search Committee 

Selected Brenner

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

Acting Chief Brenner

ONEONTA – Doug Brenner, acting chief of the Oneonta Police Department, is being recommended for a permanent appointment by the search committee.

Mayor Gary Herzig reported the committee’s finding to Common Council’s Finance/HR committee a few minutes ago.  The decision must be confirmed by Common Council, which next meets Wednesday, July 5.

“I feel good and confident that acting Chief Brenner has the right experience and philosophy for the City of Oneonta,” said the mayor.  He will recommended a $90,000 salary.


Performance of ‘Love Letters’


THEATER – 2 p.m. Performance of ‘Love Letters,’ by A.R. Gurney, which tells the story of Andrew Makepeace Ladd III and Melissa Gardner via the letters they exchanged over their lifetime. The Production Center of the Foothills Performing Arts Center, 124 Market St., Oneonta. Info, (607) 432-5407 or

QUILT SHOW – 11 a.m.-4 p.m.. Thru Sunday Feb. 26. Cooperstown Art Association, 22 Main St., Cooperstown. Info,

PLAY READING – 6:30 p.m. Reading of “Lord of the Wilderness” by local playwright Ron Nash. Telling the story of William Cooper and the founding of Cooperstown. Based on Alan Taylor’s book “William Cooper’s Town.”Fenimore Art Museum Auditorium, 5798 NY-80, Cooperstown. Info,

Man Arrested After Scuffle At Coin Store

One Arrest After Coin Store Scuffle

ONEONTA – An Edmeston man was arrested yesterday morning after Oneonta police responded to a disturbance at Oneonta Coin Co. and allegedly saw him in a physical confrontation with the owner.

Timothy E. Arnold, 47, was arrested after police were called by the store’s owner, James Phraner, to report a disturbance with a customer.  According to Acting Police Chief Doug Brenner, when officers arrived, Phraner, a professional weightlifter, was holding Arnold down.

Doug Brenner To Be Named Acting Police Chief

Douglas Brenner To Be

Named Acting Police Chief

Lt. Douglas Brenner

ONEONTA – Oneonta Common Council is slated to appoint Lt. Douglas Brenner to the position of Acting Police Chief during their meeting on Jan. 4, 2017.

If Council votes to appoint him, he will become acting chief effective Jan. 5, 2017, with a stipend of $15,758 for additional duties to be performed.

Brenner will take over for Chief Dennis Nayor, who is leaving Jan. 20  to accept a position of Director of Research, Development, and Training with the New York State Association of Chiefs of Police.  He has served as chief since 2012.


Posts navigation

21 Railroad Ave. Cooperstown, New York 13326 • (607) 547-6103