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By Terry Duffy
Many of us are familiar with the services of the Lewiston Police Department. From its multiple law enforcement functions to its community service, this roughly 20-member department of full- and part-time officers continues to be among the standouts of its kind in the Western New York community.
Of late, one member in particular – LPD Officer Jon Smith – has stood out. He was instrumental in working to help save the life of a Swann Road resident last year after having come upon a sudden garage fire while on patrol. Smith was right on again this past week, while on patrol around Clyde Burmaster Park (Bonds Lake) on Lower Mountain Road. The officer came across a dog that had wandered out on the lake ice and fell in.
LPD posted the following on its Facebook page:
“Well folks he’s done it again. After just receiving a department award for pulling a woman from a burning house, this time it was a 4-legged friend. Officer Smith arrived at Bonds Lake after a dog had fallen through the ice and was trapped in the water about 50 yards from shore. Without hesitation he removed his equipment and went in after him, bringing him safely back to land and reuniting him with his owner. By the way we gave him a 6 out of 10 on the landing in the beginning, but a 10 out of 10 for the rescue.”
The Facebook post included video from the LPD unit, showing Smith running from his patrol car toward the lake. The officer slipped on the ice, but managed to successfully rescue the dog.
His action has gone on to win the praise of more than 1,800 viewers, with close to 300 comments and thanks. Smith even made national newscasts.
Lewiston Police Chief included a letter he received from a very appreciative area family. It reads:
“Chief Frank Previte,
“On 12-5-21 at approximately 1200 hrs, a friend and I were walking our dogs off leash (guilty and remorseful) in Bond Lake Park. She is a 10 month old Lab and usually stays close by the senior dog but instinct kicked in when a flock of geese landed in the middle of the lake.
“The afternoon took a horrible turn when Kona took off and ran 75 yards onto the ice and fell in where the ice ended and the water began. Although she is a strong swimmer, there was zero chance of her getting back out onto the ice and she began to panic and tire quickly. In lieu of her being so far out, our remote location, the unpredictability of the ice (it wasn’t cloudy and thick…I could see right through it) and the fact that I had recent back surgery, I called 911 and asked for the local fire departments ice rescue team. Kona was already in the water for 10-15 mins and very tired when 3 Officers from your department pulled up to the scene, one being Officer Jon Smith.
“Without hesitation and any rescue equipment, Officer Jon Smith removed his vest and gun belt and cautiously made his way out onto the ice, monitoring the condition as he went. This was no close to shore rescue…she was far from shore. He was able to get close enough to grab 75 lb. Kona and pull her to safety. Kona and I and everybody that loves her are extremely grateful for his selflessness and courage.
“You should be proud to have Officer Jon Smith as a member of the Lewiston Police Department. His professionalism and bravery should be applauded. I have witnessed countless acts of selfless heroism, Officer Jon Smith’s actions rank high in my book. Kona and I will visit the police station soon to thank Officer Smith once again for his outstanding service.”
Such is a day in the life of the Lewiston Police.
Next time you see a LPD officer on patrol, take a moment to reflect on how lucky this community is to have such dedicated and caring men and women personnel. And hats off to LPD Officer Smith!