On August 15, the Oneida Indian Nation Police Department were joined by Oneida Nation leaders, federal, state and local law enforcement officials, and Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente, to recognize the two decades of excellence the department has established.
Gathered at the department command center in Canastota, New York, officials were allowed to tour the facility following speeches by Arthur Pierce, OIN Police superintendent; OIN Police Chief Joseph Smith; OIN Representative Ray Halbritter and others.
The day began with Pierce discussing the establishment of the police force in 1993 and its continued service of excellence for the past 20 years.
“From its creation, this police department has done its very best to provide the Oneida Nation’s members, employees and business enterprises with the highest level of professional service,” Pierce said. “We have strived to share our personnel and resources with other agencies.”
“Since its creation 20 years ago, the Oneida Indian Nation Police Department has become one of the most highly decorated, professional and experienced law enforcement agencies in the region,” Halbritter said. “We are grateful to those who have served and continue to serve in the OINPD for the critical role they have played in making the Oneida Homelands and our community a safe place to work, live and visit.”
The 20th anniversary celebration followed a month-long celebration for the Turning Stone Resort Casino also celebrating its 20 years in the Central New York region.
Highlighted throughout the celebration was the strong sense of community partnerships between law enforcement agencies, which was on display through multiple examples. This included the recognition of OINPD Sgt. Michael McCarthy for his leadership and service to the community during the recent flooding in the area.
“Over the last two decades, the OINPD has fostered strong interdepartmental relationships with local, state and federal agencies that have greatly benefited our community,” Halbritter said. “The work of Sgt. Michael McCarthy, who we are recognizing today, during the recent flooding is just the latest example of how the OINPD collaborates with other local law enforcement agencies to form partnerships that benefit not only the Oneida Nation’s members, but the entire community.”
Other examples of the exceptional and collaborative work the OINPD displays, were that of Kevin Storm, who became the first tribal police officer selected to be a part of the Washington D.C. ITAG program. Two other OINPD investigators are currently involved with Homeland Security’s Border Enforcement Security Task Force (BEST) program on the United States and Canada border.
“When police departments cooperate and work together, everybody wins,” Pierce said.
The OINPD is the eighth largest of 171 tribal law enforcement agencies throughout the U.S. It is professionally trained and its members are deputized by the federal authority, and are commissioned by the Bureau of Indian Affairs Deputy Special Officers under the U.S. Department of the Interior. The department is the only tribal agency and one of only seven law enforcement agencies in New York State that have received accreditation by the Commission on Accreditation for Law Enforcement Agencies.
“The accreditation they have achieved is outstanding,” Picente said.
“The Oneida Nation’s commitment to this police department has allowed the OINPD to become one of the most respected and decorated tribal law enforcement agencies in the country,” Smith said.
Before the conclusion of the event, the Oneida Indian Nation announced the first Oneida Indian Nation Police Charity Golf Tournament that will be held Monday, October 7, at Turning Stone’s Shenendoah Golf Tournament. The tournament is in recognition of the extraordinary commitment to the community by local law enforcement agencies during the recent floods and will benefit a memorial fund for law enforcement officers.