COLD SPRING, N.Y. (WIVB) - Cattaraugus Sheriff Dennis B. John was found on Sunfish Run Roadin the Town of Cold Spring in Cattaraugus County at 9:30 Tuesdaymorning.
State Police are not speculating at this time on the cause ofhis death. However, News 4 has learned that his death wascaused by a self-inflicted gunshot wound; an apparent suicide.
"We are investigating the death of Sheriff John," New York StateTrooper Rebecca Gibbons, State Police Spokesperson, said lateTuesday morning. A statement from the NYS Police said that itdoes not appear that any foul play was involved.
Sheriff John was New York's first Native American Sheriff andwas appointed by Governor Pataki in 2005.
Official statement from the NY State Police
Jamestown, NY, August 18, 2009 -The New York State Police andthe Cattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office are currentlyinvestigating the death of Cattaraugus County Sheriff Dennis B.John. Sheriff John was found deceased in the Town of Cold Spring at9:30 am this morning on Sunfish Run Road. The cause of deathappears to be a self-inflicted gun shot wound. At this time theinvestigation is ongoing, however, it does not appear that any foulplay was involved.
Barry E. Snyder, Sr. Statement in Response to Death of Cattaraugus County Sheriff Dennis John
"On behalf of the Seneca Nation, we were deeply saddened to hearof the death of one of our most trusted and respected members,Dennis John. He was committed to his profession as a lawenforcement professional both for the Nation and CattaraugusCounty. Each day he put the safety and well-being of others first.It was his life's passion. Our deepest condolences go out to hisfamily on this very difficult day."
Dennis John is the first Native American to hold the Office ofSheriff in New York State. He began his police career with SenecaNation Law Enforcement. He served on the Salamanca PoliceDepartment and the Allegany State Park Police before joining theCattaraugus County Sheriff’s Office in 1981.
He steadily rose through the ranks, serving as Chief ofDetectives before being named Undersheriff, and thenacting-Sheriff. In 2005, he was appointed Sheriff by then-GovernorGeorge Pataki. Sheriff John has an extensive resume ofparticipation in law enforcement training, which includes being agraduate of the FBI National Academy, Quantico, Virginia.
In addition, he is a member and past President of the New YorkState Police Juvenile Officers Association. Sheriff John alsoserves as a member and past President of the NYS Police JuvenileOfficers Association. He serves on the NYS Association ofCounties’ Public Safety Committee, the Cattaraugus CountyFire Police Association, the Counter-Terrorism Zone 13 Committee,and he is co-chair of the Southern Tier Regional Drug TaskForce.
Cattaraugus County has a population of 85,000 and consists of1,336 square miles.
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