2011-04-07 / Local News

Hundreds honor fallen trooper

by KEATON T. DEPRIEST Amherst Associate Editor

Bridgett Hastings, partner of fallen New York State Trooper Kevin P. Dobson Sr., accepts the flag that covered his casket from a fellow trooper Friday outside Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church in Clarence. With her is Dobson’s father, Richard Dobson Sr. Photo by Nick LoVerde Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com Bridgett Hastings, partner of fallen New York State Trooper Kevin P. Dobson Sr., accepts the flag that covered his casket from a fellow trooper Friday outside Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church in Clarence. With her is Dobson’s father, Richard Dobson Sr. Photo by Nick LoVerde Purchase color photos at www.BeeNews.com It was a time for people to not only say goodbye, but also to remember a life that tragically ended less than two weeks ago.

In addition to family, friends and hundreds of law enforcement personnel from across the state, Gov. Andrew Cuomo and Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy attended the funeral on Friday for State Trooper Kevin P. Dobson Sr. at Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church in Clarence.

Dobson, 43, was killed on March 26 after being struck by a vehicle while issuing a speeding ticket on eastbound Interstate 290 near the Colvin Boulevard exit.

A resident of Grand Island, Dobson was stationed out of the State Police Barracks in Clarence for the past four years and was on the Interstate Patrol.

Born in 1967, Dobson was a graduate of Iroquois Central High School and began his career with the New York State Police in 1997. As a trooper, he received 28 Letters of Commendation for excellence in the performance of his duties.

At the funeral, Dobson’s friends, family and colleagues memorialized him, sharing stories of his sense of humor and his dedication to his career, children and partner, Bridgett Hastings.

State Police Superintendent Joseph D’Amico said that after conversing with members of Dobson’s family, he began to understand how much the trooper cared about everything in his life.

“Kevin understood the importance of his community and caring for his family,” he said. “I’ve heard more than once that he always put his children first. His greatest love was being a dad. If he had 20 minutes left in the day or $20 left in his pocket, he’d give it to his [children].”

D’Amico added that Dobson will not be forgotten by anyone in law enforcement — especially the State Police.

“Kevin will always be in our lives, he will always be part of the State Police, and the State Police will always be there for Kevin’s family,” he said.

Trooper Daniel U. Golinski, who was Dobson’s best friend, said they shared a special bond that was similar to the closeness of two brothers.

“Known as ‘KPD’ or ‘Dobber,’ Kevin had a way about him that would make everyone laugh,” he said. “Just hearing his infectious laugh was powerful.”

Golinski said Dobson was a caring individual who always shared a laugh as well as anecdotes from his personal life, with stories that included his parents and three children, as well as Hastings and her son.

“Things will never be the same without him, but Kevin would have wanted us to continue smiling and laughing,” he said.

Hastings and her son, Andrew, resided with Dobson and his son, Kevin Jr., and two daughters, Jamie, 15, and Brooke, 4. Jamie Dobson said her father was her role model.

“He risked his life every day for other people,” she said. “He is also my hero because I know he’d rather risk his life to save others. He may not have always been the most perfect person — although no one is — but by far he was the most perfect dad.”

Hastings said she was thankful for the time she was able to spend with Dobson because he was loving, caring and had the ability to make anyone laugh in difficult situations. “I do appreciate the time I was fortunate enough to spend with Kevin,” she said. “I was truly blessed to have him as a part of my life.”

Hastings also asked everyone to remember to change lanes if they see flashing lights when driving.

“My request to everyone is to please obey the law,” she said. “Every day Kevin put on that uniform, we knew it could be his last. Such a senseless act could have been prevented. I urge people to slow down and move over when you see the flashing lights.”

The incident in which Dobson was killed is still under investigation, and although charges have not been made against the 71-year-old driver who struck Dobson, an arrest is possible under the state’s recently passed “Move Over Law.”

The legislation requires drivers to switch lanes if they are passing emergency vehicles displaying flashing red lights.

In addition to his children and Hastings, Dobson is survived by his father, Richard Sr., and a brother, Richard Jr. e-mail: kdepriest@beenews.com

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