SYR Announces Transition to Airport Police Department

Syracuse, NY, March 6, 2023 – The Syracuse Regional Airport Authority (SRAA) has announced the completed transition of Syracuse Hancock International Airport (SYR) law enforcement duties to the newly formed SRAA Police Department. At 12:01 am this morning, Monday, March 6th; SRAA Police Officers began their patrol of the airport property as the primary law enforcement agency at SYR.

“As our airport grows to support the region, this transition to an in-house police department will allow the SRAA flexibility in scheduling work shifts and increased control over staffing levels,” said SRAA Executive Director Jason Terreri. “Officers working regularly at the airport will have a greater familiarity with the airport environment, further enhancing security.”

Last year, state lawmakers passed legislation authorizing the creation of an authority police department with its own uniformed police officers. The airport police jurisdiction consists of all property under the control of the SRAA and has been certified by the State of New York.

Senator John W. Mannion (SD-50) said, “I sponsored the legislation authorizing the new police force because investing in the safety and security of Syracuse Hancock International Airport is the right thing to do for Central New York. By having a dedicated police force for the airport, we can ensure the safety and security of travelers and staff, and provide a more efficient and effective response to any potential incidents. The airport is a key driver of commerce, tourism, and job creation in Central New York and I’ll continue to do everything I can in the budget process and legislatively to support its growth and operations.”

“I congratulate the Syracuse Regional Airport Authority today on the establishment of its new police force,” said NYS Assemblyman William Magnarelli. “The new force will help to improve safety and security at Hancock Airport and create a better experience for travelers.  I was happy to work with the Authority to get this legislation passed in Albany last year.”

The City of Syracuse Police Department (SPD) has provided law enforcement services to the airport for most of the airport’s existence. Starting in 2012, a combination of off-duty SPD officers and private security firms have provided security services under an agreement with the City of Syracuse.

“The consummate professionals at SPD have been very accommodating during this transition,” said SRAA Police Chief Mark Werbeck. “We thank our SPD counterparts for their years of dedication to the safe and secure operation of our airport.” 

The SRAA Police Department will be staffed by two full time employees – Chief Mark Werbeck and Captain Anthony Sobiech – and 19 part-time officers.

Chief Mark Werbeck is a 25-year law enforcement professional who most recently served at the rank of Sergeant with the SPD. Among his many duties, the Solvay, NY native oversaw the SPD Airport Section, serving as the direct liaison between the SPD and SRAA. A recipient of multiple Divisional, Bureau, and Departmental commendations throughout this career, Sergeant – now Chief – Werbeck retired in good standing from the SPD in August 2022. One day later, Chief Werbeck officially accepted formal employment with the SRAA as the new Chief of Police. Since then, he has worked feverishly with internal and external stakeholders to transform the vision of an airport police force into an operational reality.

Assisting Chief Werbeck in the creation and operation of the Airport Police Department is Captain Anthony Sobiech, who will serve as the second full-time employee of the police force. Captain Sobiech, a veteran of the Gulf War, grew up in Binghamton, NY. Captain Sobiech is a 28-year veteran of law enforcement, serving the entirety of his career with the SPD. Among his many accomplishments, the FBI National Academy graduate established the first of its kind SPD Public Order Unit. After commanding the Southwest District for the department, he later commanded the Patrol Service division, which positioned Sobiech to work with a variety of community stakeholders, including the airport.

The creation of the SRAA Police Department marks the first time in decades a new officially recognized law enforcement agency has been created in New York State. Chief Werbeck extends his gratitude to the New York State lawmakers, the airport community, and the entire SRAA staff who have made this possible.

To learn more about the 29 destinations served by nonstop flights from SYR, please visit the airport’s Destinations Page.