January 21, 2022

2 city police officers honored

Two Cortland police officers were recognized this week by the Central New York Association of Chief Police for their efforts in hostage negotiation and tactical enforcement during a 24-hour standoff last year in Cortland.

Training officer and tactical team commander Chadd Hines and detective sergeant and hostage negotiator Dan Johnson both received commendations.

In May 2018, emergency responders and police officers responded to the Cortland Hampton Inn, where a man was held up in one of the rooms with a hostage. After an almost 24-hour long standoff — in which the hostage was released hours after it began — police entered the room but had found the man, Corey J. Hobart, 28, of Conklin, unresponsive in the bathroom with what appeared to be self-inflicted injuries.

“It was an honor to be awarded or recognized with the award with so many officers from across the Central New York area,” Johnson said.

“It’s always nice in this profession to be recognized for doing what we do,” Hines said. “It’s nice to get the respect from the administration.”

On May 25, 2018, the two officers were among the many who responded to the Cortland Hampton Inn, where Corey J. Hobart, 28, of 930 Powers Road, Conklin, had barricaded himself and a hostage, Jeri Ann Healy, 27, of Johnson City, in a room. This was after Hobart led police on a chase from a Walmart in Johnson City to Interstate 81 to Exit 10 in Polkville and then to Cortland. Hobart was wanted on a parole warrant.

“Officer Chadd Hines successfully coordinated all tactical team operations, plans, communications and command post with various agencies,” City Police Chief Michael Catalano wrote in a letter to the association.

Hines said the award isn’t just for him but the other 16 tactical team members working that day, who entered the room to get Hobart.

“I wouldn’t be able to receive this award if it wasn’t for my guys,” he sad. “I have absolute confidence and trust in the guys on my team and that makes my job easier.”

In the letter Catalano wrote the “expertise of Sgt. Johnson directly speaking to the suspect secured the release of the hostage safely.”

Johnson said it was his first time using his skills as a hostage negotiator.

“Although I spoke to him by either phone or text I had a lot of help,” he said. “That was team effort just speaking to him and I was just part of that team.”