Niagara Gazette

May 15, 2013

New monument revealed in memory of State Trooper Kevin Dobson

New monument revealed in memory of Kevin Dobson

By Jessica Bagley
Niagara Gazette

Niagara Gazette — CLARENCE — A new monument in memory of New York State Trooper Kevin Dobson was revealed Wednesday morning during a ceremony that family, friends and dozens of colleagues attended. 

Dobson, a 13-year veteran, was killed on the Youngman Highway in the Town of Tonawanda on a March morning in 2011.

The monument, which includes a photo of Dobson as well as an engraving of his nickname, Dobber, was made possible by a number of financial donations. It isn't a permanent structure, so it can be moved when a new office is built in the coming years. 

"When we move, the monument moves," Trooper John Betker Jr. said. 

Betker also said that Dobson's work is being carried on in a different way, as well — through the police's K-9 officer, named Dobber in the trooper's memory. 

"Whether it's the stickers on the car, a bracelet on our wrists or a memorial on the 290, you will be missed and never forgotten," he said. 

Dobson was out of his patrol car and was handing out a traffic ticket when a 71-year-old man struck him with his vehicle. The 43-year-old trooper was rushed to Kenmore Mercy Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries a short time later. 

"He got an earlier start than usual that day, and went out to do his job," Superintendent of New York State Police Joseph D'Amico said. "Traffic tickets are some of the most dangerous things troopers do, and it was something he did many times in one shift, and thousands of times over his career ... but we do them because we know they are important."

Dobson was survived by his father, girlfriend and three children. 

The fallen officer was described as a great father and son Wednesday, and colleagues said Dobson had an outgoing personality with "nonstop humor." 

"There are no words I can speak that can take away your loss," Captain Steven C. Graap said to Dobson's family at the ceremony. "But maybe this memorial can help you ... provide you with some peace in your heart and in your home, and provide a memory of your son, your father, your brother. I hope this moment is treasured and long lasting." 

Dobson's father, Richard, thanked the troopers for their efforts. 

"I'm proud of my boy," he said. "Thank you for allowing him the privilege of serving."

State Senator Michael Ranzenhofer, Erie County Legislator Edward Rath III, U.S. District Attorney William Hochul and Town of Tonawanda police officers also attended Wednesday's ceremony.

"They were there after the tragedy, and they helped us get through that terrible event," Graap said of the town officers. "We are indebted to them." 

The accident, which occurred March 26 at 7:30 a.m., came just three months after the state passed the “Move Over” law, which requires motorists to switch into the left lane when they see a law enforcement vehicle on the shoulder of a highway with its emergency lights activated. The law was passed after two law enforcers were killed in separate incidents during traffic stops in 2010. 

State police have focused on enforcing the law since Dobson's death, officials said. 

“As unfortunate as Kevin’s death was it has opened up the eyes of the public with the law,” Sergeant Joseph DiMaria said last year. 

Contact reporter Jessica Bagley at 693-1000 ext. 4150, or follow her on Twitter at @JessicaLBagley