Police To Attend Diver’s Funeral

Several officers from local police departments will attend the funeral today of a Buffalo police K-9 handler who died earlier this month during a training exercise.

Jamestown Police Chief Harry Snellings said several officers with the department will be in Buffalo for the funeral of Officer Craig Lehner. The K-9 handler and member of the city’s dive team went missing in the Niagara River following a training exercise Oct. 13.

The body of Lehner, 34, was discovered Oct. 17 following a wide-scale search involving several agencies, including from Chautauqua County.

Members of the Jamestown Police Department attending the funeral at KeyBank Center will include K-9 handler Erik Kraft and K-9 Mitchell, the department’s German Shepherd.

“We think it’s very important to show up and show support as an agency and as colleagues,” Snellings told The Post-Journal on Tuesday. “It’s always important to show respect, so we’ll be there in Buffalo.”

Also attending the funeral will be at least six members from the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office. Sheriff Joe Gerace said three K-9 handlers will be among the deputies in attendance.

The sheriff also spoke on the importance of camaraderie in the wake of Lehner’s death. He noted that the Chautauqua County Water Emergency Team assisted in the search.

“We want to show our respect,” Gerace said. “It’s also important that we show our support; we do similar jobs, and we want to show that we support them and that we have their backs.”

Gerace said he will appear on WIVB-TV to provide insight during the funeral.

The public is invited to the 10 a.m. service at the Buffalo arena. According to the Buffalo News, the funeral could be the largest ever for a police officer in the area.