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Sheriff hopes to give Child Advocacy Center new investigators

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Sheriff hopes to give Child Advocacy Center new investigators
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Investigators at the Oneida County Child Advocacy Center work all year investigating crimes against children. The job can be emotionally exhausting and the workload is growing. Cara Thomas shows us how the Oneida County Sheriff’s Department is hoping to help the team and protect children.

UTICA, N.Y. -- A group of four investigators in Oneida County work some of the most heinous crimes police say an individual can commit: Sexually and physically abusing a child.

Deputy Chief of the Child Advocacy Center, Dean Obernesser, said, “These aren’t your typical larcenies, these aren’t your typical burglaries, someone broke into the neighbor’s shed and stole their lawnmower. Each case is... there’s evidence in each case, there’s victims in each case the investigations can often times be very intense and exhausting.”

The Oneida County Child Advocacy Center began more than 20 years ago and the number of cases is growing, from 433 in 2009 to more than 500 in 2012. Yet the number of investigators has stayed the same.

Oneida County Sheriff Robert Maciol said, “It’s an awful lot of work on our investigators that are there, not only the work they’re doing each and every day, but they’re on call once every four days and it’s almost more than likely they’re going to be called out.”

Seeing the need for more manpower, Sheriff Maciol is asking county legislators to approve the addition of two more investigators at the C.A.C. The Oneida County District Attorney and County Executive have also jumped on board, saying the cost is worth it.

Oneida County Executive Anthony Picente said, “I don’t think it’s an area you can or should skimp on, we haven’t in my administration along with the sheriff, along with the district attorney, public safety and protecting all of our people all of our children in particular is a major role of government.”

Child Advocacy Center officials say by adding two more investigators to the team, it’ll have an immediate impact.

“Bring the case numbers down to a manageable level it’ll allow us to do some proactive things out there in the community,” says Obernesser.

Sheriff Maciol says they hope to have the new deputies in place by February.

The proposal will be discussed on Monday by the County’s Public Safety Committee. It will eventually have to be approved by the Board of Legislators. County officials are hopeful it will pass.

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