The Correction Division, Sheriff's Emergency Response Team (SERT), was founded under the administration of Sheriff Daniel G. Middaugh, in 1996. The Team was born of donated equipment, volunteered time and money, and many hours of hard work. It has evolved to be a well organized, equipped and trained tactical unit. The primary function of SERT is the immediate response and quelling of inmate disturbances, to protect the safety and security of all persons within the Oneida County Correctional Facility. SERT plays an instrumental role in ensuring the facility's safe and orderly operations.
Mission Statement and Philosophy: The purpose of the Sheriff's Emergency Response Team is to uphold and maintain the good order and security of the Oneida County Correctional Facility; to prevent attacks and injuries to staff, inmates and other persons; and to prevent escapes. In addition, SERT is committed to providing the highest degree of security for the citizens of Oneida County, through the continual safety of the inmates, staff and general public.
The philosophy of SERT is predicated on the following assumptions:
- Incarceration is, in and of itself, punishment.
- Members are continually held accountable for their actions.
- The Team will be comprised of highly trained, dedicated, and motivated correction officers, who are capable of responding to the facility in the event of an emergency, in a timely manner.
- Through continual in-service training, the Team will be capable of handling any situation that poses a significant threat to the safety and security of the Oneida County Correctional Facility, its occupants, or the general public.
- The Team will establish and maintain an image that fosters positive morale and confidence amongst the employees of the Oneida County Correctional Facility.
- Individual members, and the Team as a whole, are committed to the preservation of the basic human rights and dignity of the inmate population, as prescribed by the United States Constitution, the Constitution of the State of New York, and other applicable laws.
Training: All members of SERT complete a three-week Basic Academy. During the Academy, recruits receive specialized and extensive training:
- Riot and Disturbance
- Cell and Open Air Extractions and Insertions
- Covert and Dynamic Entries
- Unarmed Defense Tactics
- Chemical Agent training and certification
- Impact Devices (Baton)
- Electronic Control Devices
- Less-lethal Munitions Deployment
- High Risk Inmate Transport training
- Physical Fitness
- Use of Video recoding equipment
- Military style drill technique
The academy is intense and trainees experience a 30% dropout rate. Members of SERT also participate in monthly training to ensure proficiency of essential skills and critical incident readiness.