CHENANGO COUNTY — “Being in law enforcement is in my family,” said Chenango County Sheriff’s Deputy Chad O’Hara. “I knew I always wanted to do it.”
O’Hara has spent nearly five years with the Chenango County Sheriff’s Office and was awarded “Deputy of the Year” in 2012.
I was provided the opportunity to spend a shift with O’Hara on Saturday.
Arriving as instructed at 3:47 p.m., I was prepared to observe O’Hara’s law enforcement duties for his entire shift.
He first gave me a tour of the patrol area within the facility, and I met his Sergeant and a couple of his co-workers. O’Hara then grabbed the necessary items he needed for at least eight hours on the roads and we entered his vehicle.
O’Hara has a K-9, currently on sabbatical, so the dog was not with us Saturday. I had also previously informed the Road Patrol Lieutenant Richard Cobb that I was scared of dogs.
Upon entering the SUV, I realized that I would not enjoy to be in the backseat as an arrested individual. The dog’s area is directly behind the passenger seat, and an arrested person would sit behind the deputy. There is a blockage of sorts between the deputy and the person taken into custody, and between the person in the backseat and the K9.
O’Hara then checked to make sure he had everything he needed and we pulled away. He was to cover the northern portion of the county that night. Other deputies were assigned the south and central zones.
The CCSO patrol vehicles cover 911 square miles of Chenango County.
O’Hara was set to work the 4 p.m. to midnight shift.
Not long after being on the road, the in-vehicle radar spotted a vehicle traveling over the posted speed limit. O’Hara had instructed me in the beginning to be prepared for quick and sharp turns, and he wasn’t joking.
Once the vehicle was pulled over, I remained in the passenger seat as he approached with his flashlight. He touched the brake light, shined his flashlight into the vehicle, and then began discussion with the driver.
The driver admitted to knowing she was speeding. In the process of the traffic stop, a New York State Trooper pulled up behind us.
When I asked O’Hara as to the reasoning behind that, he explained it is common for a member of another law enforcement agency to stop as a courtesy to make sure everything is okay.