UTICA - Criminals aren't limited by geographic or municipal boundaries. Little by little, the local police officers trying to stop them aren't either.
Oneida County Sheriff Rob Maciol announced Thursday that the department had joined the Utica and New Hartford Police departments, forming a 31-person regional SWAT team. Maciol said the new, strengthened unit is already getting results.
"There was a joint operation just the other day in the city where four guns were taken off the street, and narcotics, where our SWAT team assisted the Utica Police Department SWAT team," said Maciol.
Maciol and Utica Police Chief Mark Williams say the more members the better, especially during the kinds of major incidents to which they respond.
"SWAT operations sometimes can go for multple hours, hour upon hour, and if you have a small SWAT team, you need to switch people out," said Sheriff Maciol.
"Alot of the time, these teams need to be relieved, stay on top of their game," said Chief Williams.
The Oneida County District Attorney says it's a win not only on the street, but in the courtroom.
"Any time we can get rid of jurisdictional issues the defendants can claim to try and somehow or another get out from underneath their charges is really good for us," said District Attorney Scott McNamara.
The 31-unit regional SWAT team, with 12 members from the Oneida County Sheriff's Department, four from New Hartford Police, and 15 from Utica Police, trains together as one unit.
The regional SWAT team is the lastest in a series of boundary-eliminating partnerships among local law enforcement. Just this week, Sheriff Maciol deputized the Utica Police Department metro drug unit, giving those investigators county-wide arrest powers.
Back in April, the Oneida and Madison County Sheriff's Departments cross-deputized their drug investigators, givin them arrest powers in both counties.