‘Greatly Missed’: Sheriff’s Office Mourns Loss Of Captain

Pictured in 2018 are brothers David Bentley (left), then-leader of the Southern Tier Drug Task Force and lieutenant at the Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office, and John Bentley Jr., then-Lakewood-Busti police chief. P-J file photo

The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office was mourning the loss of Capt. David Bentley, a 37-year veteran of the department who died Saturday while off duty on Chautauqua Lake.

“Our heartfelt condolences go out to his wife, children, siblings and entire family and his many friends,” the department said in a message posted to Facebook.

First responders had been alerted around 1:30 p.m. Saturday for an individual who had fallen into Chautauqua Lake in the area of Martha’s Vineyard in the town of Ellery. The 62-year-old man, later identified as Bentley, was transported to UPMC Chautauqua in Jamestown where he was pronounced dead.

Bentley oversaw the patrol and special teams of the Sheriff’s Office; he began his career with the department in 1985 having previously worked with police departments in Ellicott and Fredonia.

During his career, Bentley worked as a patrol deputy, DWI enforcement detail and as an investigator with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force. He was then promoted to a patrol sergeant and then patrol lieutenant.

Capt. David Bentley

Bentley was later assigned as the lieutenant in charge of the drug task force for many years. He was promoted to captain in January 2019.

Bentley’s father, John, also had a long career in law enforcement — working in Ellicott and Jamestown before joining the Sheriff’s Office as a deputy and later serving as sheriff. It was John Bentley who hired current Sheriff James Quattrone.

John Bentley passed away in May 1994.

David Bentley’s brother, John Bentley Jr., retired as chief of the Lakewood-Busti Police Department in January 2021 after a 45-year career in law enforcement.

In a November 2018 profile that ran in The Post-Journal and OBSERVER on the Bentley family in law enforcement, David and John Bentley Jr. recounted their long careers and noted the ride-alongs they took with their father in sparking their own interest in becoming police officers.

“It’s what we knew growing up,” John Bentley Jr. told the newspapers in 2018. “Right then, I knew what I was going to do.”

“It’s been a heck of a ride,” David Bentley added.

During his tenure at the Sheriff’s Office, David Bentley was in charge of the SWAT team, was a firearms instructor and also taught numerous topics at the Sheriff’s Academy. He also was a graduate of the FBI National Academy.

Bentley is survived by his wife, Kim, children Erik and Kaitlyn, and his grandson Sawyer.

“Captain Bentley was well known not only in the Law Enforcement community but throughout the entire community,” the department said. “Captain Bentley was involved in training most of the active law enforcement in Chautauqua County as a range instructor and Field Training Officer. While he enjoyed the formal instruction, he was also a mentor to countless officers from many agencies throughout his career.

“Captain Bentley will be greatly missed but his memory and legacy will go on.”


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