LEWISTON, N.Y. (WIVB) – A Lewiston Police officer’s quick reactions save a dog from the icy waters of Bond Lake – and the whole rescue is caught on video.
As it turns out, this was Lewiston Police officer Jonathan Smith’s second life-saving rescue in a little more than two months.
Officer Smith knew when it gets this cold, the dog would not last very long in the water – but if Smith fell in, he would be in jeopardy, too.
Video recorded by a fellow officer arriving at the scene at Bond Lake shows Smith pulling off his vest and gun belt and heading right to the edge of the ice, about 50 yards from shore.
“I was able to lift the dog up over the ice,” Officer Smith recalled. “Once I got her over the ice I kind of walked back with her and we made it back to shore.”
The rescue wasn’t exactly smooth – Smith lost his footing on the slick ice, and once there found a scared and confused 75-pound labrador retriever.
“I had seen that look on a dog’s face a few times, it even looked like my dog,” Smith said. “I kind of saw that face and it brought me out even more.”
Lewiston Police Chief Frank Previte is proud of Smith’s quick actions, and told us this is just part of what his officers do on a regular basis.
“People think a lot of times that we are just here to give out tickets or arrest people,” Chief Previte said. “The truth of the matter is, this is more of the thing we do everyday.”
For an officer who has only been on the job for a year-and-a-half in Lewiston, it was not his first rescue.
“I have done ice training before with the Coast Guard, so I am familiar with ice conditions and I have done survival training,” Smith said.
That prior Coast Guard training and courage guided Smith as he pulled an elderly homeowner from a house fire back in October – an act of heroism that has been recognized by his superiors.
Chief Previte says everyone should watch that video, too.
“You can find the body camera footage that we posted of Officer Smith running up to a burning building, and running up to and going into a burning building,” Chief Previte said. “There is nothing more – I don’t think there is anything that speaks more, and is more impactful than that body camera footage.”
The dog’s owner wants to remain anonymous, but in an email, he told Lewiston police they should be proud of Officer Smith, saying “His professionalism and bravery should be applauded.”
He sent us a video of his big puppy enjoying life and getting frisky in the snow.
Al Vaughters is an award-winning investigative reporter who has been part of the News 4 team since 1994. See more of his work here. To submit a Call 4 Action, click here.