Vincent Cerniglia, the unit's first chief, organized the unit in 1950. Cerniglia, a World War II and military police veteran, served as chief through 1983. Cerniglia originally reviewed nearly 200 applicants, selecting only about 50 charter members. In later years the membership grew to approximately 239 members from across Schenectady County. Most of the members were military veterans. Cerniglia organized the men into a series of platoons and divisions. This organizational structure is still in use today.
During the 1950's and 1960's, the unit's responsibilities extended from activation not only in times of emergency but to other details as well. These included church traffic control on weekends, parade traffic and crowd control, and special event crowd control. During this time, the unit assisted police agencies with milestone events such as the Central Park tornado, crowd control during strikes at the General Electric Company, the Standard Furniture fire and various flooding incidents in the Stockade region of Schenectady
In recent years, the unit has assisted with several civil emergencies. These include various years of the Mohawk River floods, a major fire at the Golub Corp., the fatal Broadway landslide and several extended power interruptions in 1996 and 1998. With the recent onslaught of the H1N1 virus in 2008, this unit has been deployed to the H1N1 distribution centers to help the County Health Dept. secure the virus vaults and supply the needed police security presence.
Honors and Recognition
The unit received several honors for its readiness, training, and responsiveness during the 1960's. In 1963, then Governor Nelson Rockefeller recognized 28 members of the unit for years of service and contributions to civil defense. The Schenectady unit was recognized for its excellent training program, consisting of basic law and police practices (arrest, traffic, evidence, penal law, legal procedure and public relations), first aid and firearms. Several cities, including New York City, requested details of Schenectady's program for inclusion in their own training. During the 1970's the unit continued its role of assisting local police agencies, and received several recognition awards from local organizations such as the New York State Office of Civil Defense and the American Legion as well as the Governors office of State. In 1982, the unit admitted its first Female officer, Lisa Weingardner.
The unit has assisted with major charitable events such as the Schenectady Police Athletic League Bike-a-thon, Concern for the Hungry food drive, Schenectady D.A.R.E.'s haunted house, the annual Crop Walk, the MDA telethon, the annual summer Italian Festival, and the Stockade-a-thon. The unit directly supports police agencies for major planned events such as Schenectady's annual Christmas Parade, Rotterdam's Memorial Day and Flag Day parades, the Niskaday celebration fireworks and Pop Warner football games.
Throughout its 60 years, this unit has been involved with many community outreach programs including, the annual Christmas tree giveaway for targeted low income families, and Food Pantry volunteer work during Holiday seasons as well as day to day soup kitchen details. Included with this were the community charitable events such as, Ladies Night fund raising to benefit the local CP organizations and the Schenectady County PBA.
This unit is also active in supporting many community special events including Notre Dame-Bishop Gibbons High School basketball games and dances, Schenectady Museum events such as the Festival of Nations and craft fair, Agudat Achim's Carrot Festival, the Maybe Farm Car Show, the Empire State Aeronotics Museum, and many County sponsored events such as the Schenectady County hazardous materials collection day.
Schenectady County Auxiliary Police Chiefs
The unit has had only six (6) chiefs during the past 60 years.
|Vincent Cerniglia||1950 - 1983|
|James Morette||1983 - 1985|
|Burt Colvin||1985 - 1992|
|Thomas Jay||1992 - 2006|
|Dave Cummings||2006 - 2010|
|Ray Feurstein||2010 -|
130 Princetown Plaza
(518) 370-3113 (p)