A bizarre flyer came across my desk overnight. It is entitled "NOTICE FROM ONEONTA POLICE DEPARTMENT" and warns local establishments not to serve or sell a pictured man alcoholic beverages.

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What does the flyer say?

The notice does not name the man, but a picture is attached, and claims that the individual should not be served alcohol based on "problematic and abusive behavior" while intoxicated.

The notice also says that establishments that serve this man will face a referral to the New York State Liquor Authority. I called the SLA to question the validity of this claim, and spoke to an investigator who referred me to their public affairs division. I was unable to reach that office, and their voice mail is full.


A call was also placed to the Oneonta Police Department. As of now, that call has not been returned.

The flyer directs those with questions and concerns to reach out to Oneonta Police Department Chief Witzenburg. The flyer concludes with a thank you from OPD for "your assistance in keeping the City of Oneonta a safe and welcoming community for al residents and guests".

Is this real? If so is it legal and enforceable?

There are many questions surrounding the validity of this flyer. It's not on official OPD letterhead, and has not been posted on their website or social media. The question of the omission of the man's name has been called into question as well.

Per the SLA website, reportable violations include: sale to minor, sale to intoxicated person, assault/fight, noise, and other. The other category houses violations pertaining to patrons consuming beverages in unlicensed areas, purchase from an unauthorized source, prohibited hours, and a license holder handing their establishment over to someone who is not on the license.

The language of the violations mostly does not seem to speak to prevention of intoxication, rather incidents that happen after intoxication. Whether this is legal and enforceable has yet to be explained.

We'll update this article if and when new information arrives.

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