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News of Otsego County

Police Chief Doug Brenner

Mayor, Council Member, Police Chief Set Record Straight On Flag

Mayor, Chief, Deputy Mayor

Aim To Calm ‘Blue Line’ Furor

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

The online furor began when Chief Brenner furled the “Thin Blue Line” flag after it was discussed in a Common Council committee.

ONEONTA – The removal of a “Thin Blue Line” flag from the pole in front of the Public Safety Building has caused a local social media uproar, and the mayor, police chief and deputy mayor issued a joint statement tonight seeking to calm the discussion.

The men are in agreement on the issue, the statement said.

“Locally, we have enough problems to solve without creating ones that do not exist,” said Mayor Gary Herzig. “Many of the recent accusations, spreading through social media and email, have been both painful and false. We want to set the record straight.”

The controversy started during a meeting of the city’s Legislative Committee last week.  Deputy Mayor Dave Rissberger, Third Ward, brought up the flagpole in front of the Public Safety Building, which had flown the “Thin Blue Line” flag since the summer.

New SUNY President Craig: Control Room ‘Very Encouraging’

New SUNY President Craig

Supports ‘Control Room’

Interim SUNY Oneonta president Dennis Craig, center right, joined the Control Room this evening to introduce himself. He is joined by, from top left, SUNY chief of staff Colleen Brannan, Mayor Gary Herzig, city health director Diane Georgeson, Emma Sarnacki, Common Council member Dave Rissberger, Third Ward, Oneonta police chief Doug Brenner and Rachel Dobkin.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – Following his first full day on the job, SUNY Oneonta interim president Dennis Craig said the “Control Room,” a bi-weekly meeting of college and city personnel, is “very encouraging.”

“Having conversations like this is what makes it work,” he said. “We discussed a lot of issues today and the collegiality and calm in light of everything is very refreshing.”

Repeat Offenders Have Oneonta On Edge

Repeat Offenders

Have Oneonta On Edge

By JIM KEVLIN • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – For Oneonta Police Chief Doug Brenner, the recent slate of thefts from unlocked cars are more than just petty crimes.

They’re a stress on the Oneonta community as a whole.

“These aren’t huge larcenies, but they create a more hyper-sensitive community,” he said. “You have to remember to lock your car, your house, you might be more sensitive to when your dog barks.”

On Sept. 18, Oneonta Police arrested Keegan Allen, 22, a homeless man, following a report that someone had been rifling through cars on Hudson Street. Allen was located near the scene and, according to police, allegedly admitted to going through the cars.

And it wasn’t the first time.

According to Brenner, Allen also was arrested on July 31 for criminal possession of a controlled substance, on Aug. 12 for taking items from a vehicle, and on Aug. 20 for shoplifting, and was issued an appearance ticket for each.

“It’s sad,” said Brenner. “The base problem is substance abuse, and we can’t get him the help he needs.”

Under bail reform, bail cannot be set for such misdemeanors, even as they stack up, freeing the suspect to continue breaking the law.

“It’s a destructive cycle,” said Brenner. “Previously, a judge would have the discretion to look at him after his third time being arrested and say, ‘What’s really going on here?’ “He could send him to jail, where he might have access to services for mental health and substance abuse. A lot of time, jail is their first connection to things like medication or counseling, but it’s hard to help them find help without pushing them in.”

Allen was charged with petit larceny, criminal possession of stolen property and criminal possession of a controlled substance after he was allegedly found with a small amount of marijuana and prescription pills taken from one of the cars.

Once again, he was ticketed and released.

The same week, police also arrested Eric Meade, 26, after an investigation revealed that he had allegedly stolen a checkbook from a car and used it to forge a check.

Meade was also arrested by State Police for a similar crime in the Town of Oneonta after he allegedly went through unlocked cars, stealing change. Like Allen, he was issued a ticket and released.

Brenner said that since August, there have been 26 instances of items taken from unlocked cars in the city. “These are always crimes of opportunity,” he said. “Most of these guys are struggling with issues of mental illness or substance abuse.”

In addition to the rise in break-ins, Brenner said that, since March, police have seen a vast increase in heroin overdoses – so many, he said, that they had to order another box of Narcan.

“Last year we had one or two,” he said. “Since March, we’ve had 13. It’s sad, but it’s not unique. This is a national trend. It might be difficult for people to get quality services when they can’t meet in person.”

“We’ve seen a lot of people trying to connect to resources and care,” said Kyle LeFevre, Peer Services Coordinator, Friends of Recovery of Delaware-Otsego. “It’s difficult, but not impossible.”

Telehealth – offering counseling by phone or video chat – has also helped connect people with resources who might not feel comfortable attending an in-person meeting.

“There’s always someone out there who is going to need help,” he said.

Brenner said that police are trained to offer connections to mental health and substance abuse services when applicable.

“Most of the time, when we bring these guys in, they’re either suffering from the effects or they’re just coming off of them,” he said. “We can tell the court to refer them to services and try to help them, but sentencing could be weeks away – how many more break-ins can be done in that time? How many more substances can be abused?”

Oneonta Police: Two Arrested For Stealing From Cars

CARS RIFLED THROUGH IN CITY

Homeless Man Arrested

For 4th Time Since July 31

Chief: Drug Abuse At Root; No Help Available

ONEONTA – Oneonta Police report arresting a second homeless man for stealing items from unlocked cars over the past week, and it’s the fourth time the suspect was arrested  two months.

Keegan Allen, 22, homeless, was arrested following a report that someone had been rifling through cars on Hudson Street. Allen was located near the scene and admitted to going into cars and taking items, police said.

According to Oneonta Police Chief Doug Brenner, Allen also was arrested on July 31 for criminal possession of a controlled substance, on Aug. 12 for taking items from a vehicle, and on Aug. 20 for shoplifting, and was issued an appearance ticket for each.

“It’s sad,” said Brenner. “The base problem is substance abuse, and we can’t get him the help he needs.”

Juvenile Arrested In Tire-Damage Spree

Juvenile Arrested

In Tire-Damage Spree

ONEONTA – One juvenile was arrested and a second is awaiting charges following 29 incidents where car tires were punctured and other personal property items were damaged last week in Oneonta’s East End.

In all, the juvenile, whose name was not released because of their age, was charged with 23 misdemeanors and six felonies after they allegedly slashed and punctured the tires of more than 20 vehicles on Fair Street, Hudson Street, Belmont Circle, North Belmont Circle, Forest Avenue and Rose Avenue.

Man Arrested In Railyards After Stabbing

OPD Used State Police Drone In Search

Man Arrested In Railyards

After Stabbing Acquaintance

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – An Oneonta man was arrested following a manhunt into the Oneonta railyards after he allegedly stabbed an acquaintance, Oneonta Police Chief reported this morning.

Brian J. Boore, 40, Oneonta, was arrested after police responded to a call to a residence on Burnside Avenue of a “stabbing in progress” by a housemate of the victim. When they arrived, they found the victim “bleeding profusely” from multiple lacerations.

20 Tires Punctured Overnight In Oneonta

20 Tires Punctured

Overnight In Oneonta

ONEONTA – Oneonta Police are seeking the suspects in more than 20 incidents of tires punctured overnight in Oneonta’s East End.

“We started getting calls at 10 a.m. this morning,” said Police Chief Doug Brenner. “And we’ve been collecting statements all day.”

Police: Man Falsely Accused Man Of Having Handgun
Told Officers ‘Shoot Out’ Imminent; No Weapons Found

Police: Man Falsely Accused

Man Of Brandishing Handgun

ONEONTA – An Oneonta man was arrested after he allegedly made a series of calls to the Oneonta Police Department, falsely accusing neighbors of being “involved in a drug deal” and brandishing a handgun.

According to Police Chief Doug Brenner, Thomas E. Harker, 64, Oneonta, allegedly called the Oneonta Police department yesterday afternoon, first to report an alleged drug deal, then made a second call, where he allegedly told police he witnessed one of the two men pull out a handgun.

“He told officers there was going to be ‘a shoot-out’,” said Brenner.

Students, Citizens Will Be Part Of Police Review Board

Students, Citizens Will Be

Part Of Police Review Board

Mayor Herzig

ONEONTA – SUNY Oneonta and Hartwick College students and faculty, as well as representatives from the NAACP, Common Council and City Hall will be tasked with reviewing police policies and procedures as part of Mayor Gary Herzig’s proposed Community Advisory Board to the Oneonta Police Department, Herzig announced during a meeting of the Planning Commission this evening.

“Our policies have been approved by the state as part of our accreditation,” he said. “But they’ve never been reviewed by the people of the city.”

OPD Chief Reports: 4 ODs In 48 Hours

NO DEATHS; HEROIN MAY BE TAINTED

OPD Chief Reports

4 ODs In 48 Hours

Beware Of ‘Bad Batch,’ Brenner Says

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – Oneonta Police have been called to four heroin overdoses in the last 48 hours, prompting fears that a “bad batch” may be on the streets, according to Police Chief Doug Brenner.

“Each time, our officers had to use both of their Narcan kits to revive the person,” said Brenner. “That tells us that it’s a heavy overdose, possibly tainted with fentanyl.”

Oneonta Man Arrested After Robbery Spree

Oneonta Man Arrested

After Robbery Spree

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

Brian Ruple, 41, Oneonta, was arrested and charged with robbing four gas stations in the early-morning hours of Friday, April 24.

ONEONTA – Following four gas station robberies, including one where a clerk was stabbed, an Oneonta man has been arrested and charged in the five-hour spree across Oneonta and Otego overnight and into Friday morning.

“I called Mayor Herzig after we made the arrest,” said Oneonta Police Chief Doug Brenner. “I told him, ‘we got him, you can sleep well tonight’.”

Bryan Ruple, 41, Oneonta, was arrested last night, both by City of Oneonta police and State Police Troop C.

According to Brenner, Ruple’s first attempt was at the Kwik Fill, where he allegedly attempted to grab cash out of an open register drawer. The clerk slammed Ruple’s hand in the drawer to stop him, and Ruple allegedly stabbed him with a small knife before fleeing the store without any money.

Police: Man Graffitied Churches, Businesses

Police: Man Graffitied

Churches, Businesses

Thomas Miller, Oneonta, was arrested and charged after he allegedly spray-painted graffiti on seven locations in downtown Oneonta.
This “demonic” symbol was spray-painted in front of the Lord’s Table.

ONEONTA – Oneonta Police arrested a man after he allegedly spray-painted “demonic” symbols on a church and other Main Street businesses, according to Police Chief Doug Brenner.

Thomas R. Miller, 26, Oneonta, was arrested after a tip into graffiti that appeared on Main Street businesses and two churches between November 2019 and Feb. 22. “We were able to match the symbols with ones he posted on social media,” said Brenner.

3 Hospitalized During SantaCon

3 Hospitalized

During SantaCon

ONEONTA – Three students were hospitalized for over-consumption of alcohol during the annual SantaCon on Saturday, Dec. 7.

“Two of them were sent to the ICU to be intubated, both with a blood alcohol content level over .5 percent,” said Police Chief Doug Brenner. “.4 is usually fatal.”

The first, a 21-year-old male SUNY student, was transported to Bassett Hospital by police after he was found unconscious on the lawn of a house on Grove Street at 3:15 p.m. on Saturday.

Suspect Beats Up 2 Women Officers

Suspect Beats Up

2 Women Officers

Oneonta Man Charged With Assault

Cameras in the Oneonta Police Station caught footage of Zachary Kaplan, left, allegedly attacking Officer Amanda Catapano after he allegedly slipped out of his handcuffs following his arrest for an alleged domestic incident.

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to www.AllOTSEGO.com

ONEONTA – A man arrested during a domestic dispute then slipped his handcuffs and attacked two female police officers inside the Oneonta Police Station, Police Chief Doug Brenner reported today.

Zachary M. Kaplan, 29, was arrested by Officers Kristen LaPointe and Amanda Catapano following a call that he was violating an order of protection, said Brenner. “He gave them no problems at the scene, put his hands behind his back and got in the patrol car,” the chief said.

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