The Patrol Division Emergency Response Team (ERT) was founded as the “SWAT" Team under the administration of Sheriff William Hasenauer in 1982. The team was formed to handle “High Risk” calls and situations, which were becoming more frequent and beyond the scope of the uniform patrol deputy.
The SWAT Team was comprised of five patrol deputies, under the direction of Captain Bruno Graziano (Retired). An initial weapon’s qualification determined the five team members and the team participated in an extensive two-week training course hosted by the F.B.I. Without funding, it was necessary to equip the team with items that the Sheriff’s Office had in present inventory. The team’s equipment consisted of S&W Model 27, .357 Magnum sidearms; two Winchester Model 100, .308 semi-auto rifles; and an Auto-Ordnance, .45 Thompson sub-machine gun with fifty round drum magazine.
Over the next decade as the team evolved it was composed of approximately twelve tactical entry personnel; three of whom are also sniper/observers, and two Emergency Medical Technicians (EMT’s). The team’s title has changed to “Oneida County Sheriff’s Office Emergency Response Team”.
In 2013 the team was once again designated as SWAT. Today all members on SWAT must meet the rigid Operator requirements set forth by New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services. All members of the team are experienced in the use of specialty weapons and equipment and they train regularly in the use of team equipment and tactics to maintain proficiency.Members of SWAT are selected from the ranks of the Patrol Division. Team members must have completed their on the job probationary period, must be proficient in weapons and tactics and must be team oriented. Team members attend a basic school concerning emergency response tactics to dangerous situations, as well as high-risk warrant service entries. The sniper/observers also attend a sniper tactics and precision shooting school sponsored by the F.B.I. Team members also attend several other schools, including; Firearms Instructor, Less Lethal and Chemical Munitions, Active Shooter, Advanced Firearms and Advanced Tactical Training
SWAT implements variety of modern technology and weapons including: Heckler & Kock MP5 Sub Machine Gun; Remington 870, 12 ga. pump shotgun; Remington 1187, 12 ga. semi-automatic shotgun; Remington Model 700, bolt action .308 precision rifle; Glock .40 handgun, and Colt M4/AR-15 Carbine rifle. Technology such as infrared cameras, GPS devices, specialized radios and protective armor are issued to the team members. The team also utilizes numerous types of “Less Lethal” equipment such as rubber bullets, beanbag rounds and various types of pepper spray and tear gas.The team acquired an Armored Rescue Vehicle (BearCat) in 2014 providing a substantial level of protection to members during response and operations.
Agency hostage negotiators from within the Sheriff’s Office compliment SWAT. All negotiators have attended special negotiations training to adequately perform these duties.
The SWAT Team's mission, as a life saving unit, is to support the Oneida County Sheriff’s Office or any requesting Law Enforcement Agency, with a tactical response to critical incidents, including; Hostage Situations, Barricade Situations, Sniper Situations, High-Risk Apprehensions, High-Risk Warrant Service, Personal Protection, and Special Assignments.