News of Otsego County

Troop C

New State Police Commander focused on recruitment
Major Jeffrey Van Auken, the new Troop C commander for the NY State Police, is hoping to attract new recruits in the Otsego County area.

New State Police Commander focused on recruitment

By KEVIN LIMITI • Special to

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.

BERKSON: Otsego Lawman, Cunningham, Served Otsego County With ‘Sleuth-Like’ Attention

Otsego Lawman, Cunningham, Served

Otsego County With ‘Sleuth-Like’ Attention

Terry Berkson, who has an MFA in creative writing from Brooklyn College, lives on a farm outside Richfield Springs. His articles have appeared in New York magazine, the New York Daily News Sunday Magazine, Automobile and other publications.

John L. Cunningham became a New York State Trooper in 1917. He was among the 232 selected men who made up the first wave of the newly formed organization that would serve to uphold the law in rural areas under the leadership of Major George Fletcher Chandler.

Up until that time Cunningham, who was originally from Glens Falls, worked as a shirt cutter for 18 years. No doubt the newly formed force appealed to a now stationary 35 year old “man-with-scissors” who still loved to swim and had once been a high school basketball and track star.

He was a natural for equestrian and law enforcement training and excelled as a State Trooper. Within four years he was promoted to sergeant and transferred to an outpost in Cooperstown which was a substation of Troop C that was located in Sidney.

In Leatherstocking country he was provided a place in the village to live, conduct his police activities and board a horse upon which he patrolled Cooperstown and other environs in and out of Otsego and neighboring Counties. Because of his style and strict but fair enforcement of the law, he was already a local celebrity, by the time he married Elizabeth Lukas in 1931. They continued to live in various outposts in the village that were provided by The State Police.

Police: Man Got Caught Breaking In Home

Police: Man Caught

Breaking In Home

ONEONTA – A Mount Vision man was arrested after he was allegedly caught breaking into an Oneonta home while the owners were inside, according to Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C public relations officer.

Herbert J. Bidwell Jr., 38, Mount Vision, was arrested after county 911 dispatched state police to a burglary in progress at a home on Route 28, Town of Oneonta. The residents were home when they heard glass breaking and called 911.

Police: Drunk Driver Hit Motorcyclist

Troopers: Drunk Driver

Hit Oneonta Motorcyclist

ONEONTA – A Mount Vision woman was arrested and charged with DWI after she allegedly struck a 78-year-old motorcyclist on Oneida Street.

According to Aga Dembinska, Troop C public relations officer, Cristina J. Tilton, 54, was traveling east on Oneida when she began turning left onto Country Club Road and into the path of a motorcycle being driven by Donald O. Fredenburg, 78, Oneonta, who was traveling west n Oneida Street.

Police: Teen Threatened Law Enforcement

Police: Teen Threatened

Law Enforcement Officers

ONEONTA – An Oneonta teenager was arrested after allegedly calling Otsego County 911 and threatening law enforcement with violence.

According to Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C Public Relations officer, a teenager made approximately 40 illegitimate phone calls to Otsego County 911 between 7-9 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 22. Some of the calls threatened violence against the 911 center and members of law enforcement, but did not specify an agency.

Police: Man Threatened Teens With Knife

Police: Richfield Springs Man

Threatened Teens With Knife

RICHFIELD SPRINGS – A Richfield Springs man was arrested after he allegedly threatened two teenagers with a knife, according to a release from State Police, Troop C.

Thomas A. Niznik, 45, allegedly approached two teenagers on James Street in the Village of Richfield Springs. The teens told the police that they had stopped when the chain broke on one of their bikes.

Driver Hits Stopped Trooper Car On I-88

Trooper, Adults, Child Hurt In 3-Car Crash

Driver Slams Into

Police SUV On I-88

Troopers said the car at left ran into the unmarked state police SUV at right, pushing the SUV into the car in front of it.  The accident occurred in the eastbound lane of I-88 Monday evening.

SCHENEVUS – A state trooper, two adults and a child were hospitalized after a Richmondville woman, 32, failed to move over on Interstate 88, and smashed into the back of a stopped state police SUV hard enough to drive it into a third car that had been pulled over for a traffic stop, police report.

The trooper was from the Oneonta Barracks, Troop C, and the SUV’s lights were flashing when the accident occurred, police said.  The third car was pushed back into the eastbound lane.

2 Passengers Killed, Driver Injured In Pittsfield Crash

2 Passengers Killed,

Driver Hospitalized

In Pittsfield Crash

PITTSFIELD – Two passengers were dead and the driver hospitalized after a crash on County Route 13 in the Town of Pittsfield early this morning, according to a release from State Police Troop C.

At 12:17 a.m., troopers responded to a 911 report of a vehicle that went off the roadway near the 1100 block of County Route 13 in the town of Pittsfield.

High Speed Chase Ends In Collision With Cruiser

High Speed Chase Ends

In Collision With Cruiser

NEW LISBON – A high-speed chase involving an Oneonta man accused of burglarizing an Edmeston home ended when the suspect collided with an Otsego County Sheriff’s Department cruiser, according to Aga Dembinska, Troop C public relations officer.

Jesse M. Souza, 30, Oneonta, was allegedly seen by State Police at Richfield Springs leaving the scene of a burglary on Coutny Route 20 in Edmeston. Troopers attempted to initiate a traffic stop, but Souza allegedly failed to comply, and lead troopers on a pursuit through several Otsego County roads and into Allen Road in the Town of New Lisbon.

Truck Driver Falls Asleep, Spills Milk All Over I-88

Truck Driver Falls Asleep,

Spills Milk All Over I-88

I-88 was closed this morning after a milk truck rolled over in Otego.

OTEGO – A truck driver fell asleep at the wheel on I-88 and crashed a truck filled with milk and other dairy products all over the roadway in Otego earlier this morning, according to a press release from state troopers, Troop C.

Andrew A. Lloyd, 26, Porter Cors, allegedly told told troopers that he fell asleep and drifted on the roadway, rolling his vehicle. No injuries were reported, but I-88 was closed until just after non., with traffic  diverted off at Exit 12 into Unadilla.

Troopers Warn of Email Scam

Troopers Warn of Email Scam

ONEONTA – State Police are warning people to delete scam emails which threaten to release allegedly explicit videos if the victim refuses to pay a ransom.

According to Trooper Ag Dembinska, Troop C public information officer, the email demands the email recipient to pay a Bitcoin ransom to keep alleged sexually explicit videos from being sent to all the contacts in the person’s email and social media contacts.

Unadilla Man Arrested Twice In One Day

Easter Sunday,

Unadilla Man

Arrested Twice

By LIBBY CUDMORE • Special to

ONEONTA – State Police arrested a Unadilla man twice on Sunday for allegedly threatening a victim he had previously been ordered to stay away from.

Dennis P. Lafferty, 38, was arrested at 1:37 p.m. after troopers responded to fa domestic dispute at a residence on Clifton Street in the Village of Unadilla. Troopers located Lafferty on the back porch of the home where, according to the victim, he was allegedly making threats to harm a resident.

Troopers: Individuals Conducting Fake Traffic Stops

Bogus Officer Stopping Traffic,

Issuing ‘Travel Ban’ Warnings

ONEONTA – State Police are investigating two incidents of who allegedly impersonated a trooper to conduct traffic stops and harass drivers over a non-existent “travel ban.”

According to Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C Public Information Officer, the suspect – likely the same person in both instances, she noted – allegedly pulled over two cars in late March. The individual then asked the purpose of the motorists’ travel and warned they would be fined for violating the “travel ban” if they were caught on the road again.

Burlington Flats Man Killed In Motorcycle Crash

Burlington Flats Man

Dies In Motorcycle Crash

Kyle Seamon, Burlington Flats, was killed when his motorcycle collided with an SUV on Route 28 in Richfield.

RICHFIELD – A 20-year-old Burlington Flats man was killed when he was hit by a car making a turn on State Route 28 near the Canadarago Lake boat launch in the Town of Richfield.

According to Trooper Aga Dembinska, Troop C public information officer, Kyle J. Seamon was driving his motorcycle south on Route 28 when a woman driving an SUV north made a left turn onto Hyder Road, directly into Seamon’s path.  The SUV and motorcycle collided.

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