Something fishy

Keith Roddam serves as the Oneonta City Schools resource officer as well as OPD Bike Patrol officer.

Keith Roddam serves as the Oneonta City Schools resource officer as well as OPD Bike Patrol officer.

Oneonta Police Department has partnered with Swamp John’s to raise money for their bike patrol and reserve fund. The dine-in or take-out event will be Saturday, Sept. 28, from 4 p.m. until 7 p.m., at the Oneonta City Depot located at 28117 State Highway 75.

Plates are $12 and include fish, shrimp, chicken, or a combo with fries, hush puppies, and coleslaw. For those choosing to donate a plate to someone in need, please provide their name, address, and phone number to OPD whose reserve members and other personnel will deliver plates that evening. To date, OPD has more than 70 donated plates that will be available for those who might not be able to afford to purchase one.

Proceeds from this event will help defray costs of two programs, the reserve officer and bike patrol programs.

Amid a recruiting crisis, it is imperative that agencies maintain law enforcement officers to protect and serve. With law enforcement jobs becoming less desirable because of increased public scrutiny, persecution, and associated danger, career seekers are choosing other fields, and it has affected their agency. Oneonta Police Chief Charles Clifton said, “It is the worst I’ve ever seen it. Recruiting is down nationwide.”

While recruitment may be down, the OPD has individuals willing to step-up to help ensure the safety of others.Through the Oneonta Police Reserve Program, individuals are able to experience the day-to-day life of a law enforcement officer. The program also helps the police department with officer presence and workforce.

Men and women participating in the reserve program do so voluntarily. They must spend their own money on needed equipment. Uniform pants and shirt for a reserve officer cost approximately $125. Add in the bulletproof vest and duty belt with holster and pouches, and the cost can easily reach $2,000. Part of the proceeds from this event will help defray costs for their necessary equipment.

Additionally, this fundraiser will help maintain Oneonta’s bike patrol with money for repairs, uniforms, and helmets. These costs are outside of allowed expenses, but are necessary for the unit to function properly.

Law enforcement agencies consider bike patrol a huge asset for public service and crime prevention. It enables police officers to utilize all their senses while patrolling and increases interaction with the public. It also allows them to cover community events more effectively and reduces fuel consumption.

Frios Gourmet Pops will be on hand with delicious gourmet popsicles. Twenty percent of their proceeds will be donated to OPD for the two causes.

Tickets can be purchased at the Oneonta Police Department at 302 Second Street North. Anyone with questions can call OPD at 205-625-4351. Clifton encourages everyone to buy their ticket as early as possible and thanked everyone for supporting the event thus far and hopes everyone has a great time enjoying some great food.