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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.

Equipment funding was made available in 1983 and the team upgraded its rifles to Ruger MV-77, .308 bolt rifles with Leopold scopes and Ruger AC-556 .223 auto rifles with Aimpoint scopes. The team also acquired tactical vests, harnesses and rappelling gear.

Over the next decade, all of the original team members retired or were promoted to higher ranks within the Agency. The team obtained new members and new equipment and has grown to its present compliment of fourteen members, under the direction of Captain Richard Antanavige. The team is composed of 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”.

Members of the ERT are selected from the ranks of the Patrol Division. Team members must have two years of experience, 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.

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.

The Emergency Response Team utilizes a variety of modern weapons: 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. 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.

Two hostage negotiators from within the Sheriff’s Office compliment the ERT. All negotiators have attended F.B.I. sponsored schools and are trained in a variety of situations.

The Emergency Response Team’s mission 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.