Two Lockport police officers who risked their lives to save a man from a burning building last year and a longtime member of the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office who spent his life in service to his community were honored at the Judges and Police Executives Conference of Niagara County’s annual Lawman Dinner last week in Lewiston.
All three men were honored for going above and beyond their duties.
The Lockport officers, Lt. Todd Chenez and Officer Michael Stover, received the Hon. Wesley Arnold Memorial Lawmen of the Year Award.
Niagara County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Thomas Beatty, a member of the department for 36 years, received the Lifetime Achievement Award.
Chenez and Stover were off-duty the afternoon of March 18, 2013, and were on a run together in training for an upcoming marathon when they spotted a woman on Hawley Street yelling that her husband was trapped inside their burning home. The woman had been able to get out, but her husband was still trapped inside.
Black smoke was filling the home, but Chenez and Stover ran into the building. They were fighting the smoke, facing limited visibility and difficulty breathing. They found the husband in the basement but were forced out briefly by the intense black smoke. They went back in and found the victim, unconscious and not breathing, and with the help of two other Lockport officers, Heather Rohde and Anthony Pittman, were able to pull the 69-year-old man to safety.
All four were treated for smoke inhalation, with Stover forced to stay overnight in intensive care in Erie County Medical Center for observation.
Paramedics were able to revive the man, and he was taken to Erie County Medical Center, where doctors said that without the quick action of the officers, he would not have survived.
Beatty, who has worked under four sheriffs, was appointed chief deputy, the third highest ranking position in the Sheriff’s Office, in 2009.
He has become a highly respected source of knowledge within the department and has successfully served as the liaison to the Niagara County Legislature, where he has been instrumental in securing $10 million in grant money for Niagara County.
Beatty has received a number of honors for his dedication to duty and efforts for the community.
He has earned the Sheriff’s Distinguished Service Award, the Niagara County Sheriff’s Office Craig C. Harmon Award, the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services John Kimball O’Neill Certificate of Achievement and the New York State Sheriff’s Association Institute’s Carl Draxler Award.
All of those honors have recognized him for his management, dedication, professionalism and devotion to the spirit of public service.