Bentley To Retire As Lakewood-Busti Police Chief

End Of An Era

Lakewood-Busti Police Chief John R. Bentley will retire on Jan. 17 after 45 years in law enforcement. P-J file photo

LAKEWOOD — The Lakewood-Busti Police Department will have a new leader.

The Lakewood Village Board accepted the resignation of Lakewood-Busti Police Chief John R. Bentley, who will be retiring after 45 years in law enforcement, during its annual organizational meeting Monday night.

“It is with great sadness for the Busti-Lakewood area, but great joy for the Bentley family, that I make the motion to accept the resignation of Lakewood-Busti Police Chief John R. Bentley,” Village Mayor Randall Holcomb said during Monday’s meeting.

Asked for any discussion, village trustee Rich Fischer said, “How the hell can you ever properly thank somebody like that?”

“Absolutely,” Holcomb added. “Our unending thanks to Chief Bentley.”

One of the many Bentleys to have served Chautauqua County in law enforcement and the son of the former sheriff of the same name, Bentley began his career July 4, 1975, as a part-time police officer in the village of Mayville. He then became a part-time Lakewood police officer Nov. 11, 1975, and stepped up to full-time June 1 of the following year.

His retirement is effective Jan. 17.

At Bentley’s recommendation, the village went into executive session to discuss a motion to approve the promotion of Sgt. Christopher A. DePonceau, of Lakewood, to serve as the next chief. The board also authorized the hiring of Brandon Curtis, of Frewsburg, as a part-time police officer with the department at Bentley’s recommendation.

During the organizational portion of the meeting, Holcomb reappointed Ellen Barnes as deputy mayor as well as renewed appointments of department of public works supervisor Tom Pilling and building inspector Jeff Swanson to another one-year term. Gary M. Segrue was also reappointed to a five-year term as zoning board of appeals member and chairman.

Approval of the revised personnel policies and procedures were also tabled during a discussion under “old business.”

During committee reports, Fischer also discussed the development of a new sign for the village’s entrances.

“I am working with Masterpiece Designs in Jamestown on these,” Fischer said, noting that he was going to try and secure a grant from the Chautauqua Region Community Foundation to help pay for the cost.

“(Masterpiece) will hold the signs, he will give us the sign and I’m not sure what kind of grant I can get, but hopefully it’s going to take care of most of the signs,” Fischer said. “If it won’t take care of them all, then we might have to go back and get another grant to finish off two or three of them. One was green and one was blue.”

“The sign looks great,” Holcomb said. “I’d prefer the blue if we’re asking and telling and I think it’s going to be a great addition to our village.”

“We had gotten some other signs from and different supplier before and they were about $2,200 a piece,” Fischer said. “The ones that I’m looking at run between 700 to 800 a piece. This is kind of a design of what’s going to be, but once we get the grant, we can sit down with them and figure out what we want on it. I talked to (DPW supervisor) Pilling and they will put the signs up for us which will save us money too.”

During the mayor’s report, Holcomb said that Chautauqua County Alliance had notified the village that the Grandview Stormwater Management Project has been granted approval for a no-cost time extension. The new end date is now June 30, 2021

“We will be in good contact in trying to meet that date for sure,” Holcomb said.

The mayor also asked for a moment of silence to honor the memory of Tony Barone, a village resident who had been active within the community who passed away on Dec. 26 at the age of 86.

“The village mourns the passing of Tony Barone,” Holcomb said. “He was a longtime fireman assistant in the village and actively involved in many committees to help Lakewood become the village it is today. We thank him and his family for his participation on the Lakewood History Committee, of which he was still a member at the time of his passing.”


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