The Oneida Family Motel has become "a haven for crime," according to Oneida chief of police Darryl Laxton. The chief's remarks were in response to an Independent Herald examination of Oneida Police Department's call logs involving the motel.

When a team of Oneida Police Department officers responded to Room 36 at the Oneida Family Motel Thursday afternoon, they expected to arrest a couple living at the motel on charges of educational neglect.

Instead, what was intended to be the execution of a routine arrest warrant turned into a more serious investigation after officers discovered drugs inside the motel room, where three young children were living in what officers described as “very poor living conditions.”

Records show that Thursday’s investigation was far from an isolated incident at the motel, which is located on Alberta Street in the heart of Oneida’s retail district.

Once considered a local landmark, Tobe’s Motel and Restaurant was even featured on postcards that tourists mailed back home as they passed through Oneida. After a series of ownership changes over the course of a decade, the motel has slowly become noteworthy for different reasons.

According to an Independent Herald review of police logs from the 2016 calendar year, Oneida Police Department officers were on scene at 169 separate incidents at the motel over the 365-day period. The logs, provided upon request by Oneida Police Department, show that some of the calls involved routine traffic stops in which the vehicle pulled into the parking lot or to the shoulder of Alberta Street at the motel. Many of the incidents, though, involved officers being summoned to the motel for various reasons, or initiating contact with residents at the motel as part of an investigation.

“The calls we get from the motel range from domestics, sale and use of illegal drugs, theft and harbor for fugitives from justice, child services investigations and child abuse,” Oneida chief of police Darryl Laxton told the Independent Herald.

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The complete story can be found in the Feb. 16, 2017 print edition of the Independent Herald.