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Show Of Support

County, state law enforcement turn out to honor fallen NY K-9

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Officers from multiple agencies salute Jamestown Police Department K-9 Promber and Officer Erik Kraft along Route 62 just north of the state line as Kraft escorts the remains of Promber home from Russell Veterinary Hospital, Russell. Promber passed away Saturday, July 11, due to a medical condition.

The police K-9 community is a tight-knit group.

It is also a group not concerned with political borders like state lines.

When K-9 Promber of the City of Jamestown Police Department passed away unexpectedly from a medical condition on Saturday, July 11, K-9 officers in Warren County wanted to honor Promber and his handler, JPD Officer Erik Kraft.

Conewango Township Police Officer Scott Neiswonger and Warren County Sheriff’s Office Deputy Tom Kibbey escorted Kraft to and from Russell Veterinary Hospital, where he collected Promber’s remains.

Neiswonger also made arrangements for local and state agencies to honor Promber and Kraft.

Times Observer photo by Brian Ferry Warren County Public Safety Director Ken McCorrison and City of Warren Police Capt. Joe Sproveri salute Jamestown Police Officer Erik Kraft late Wednesday morning on Route 62 at the state border as Kraft escorts the remains of K-9 Promber, who died Saturday, July 11, due to a medical condition, home from Russell Veterinary Hospital. Officers from multiple agencies in both Pennsylvania and New York lined up at the border to honor Promber and Kraft.

“I wanted to do something for Officer Kraft and his family and the Jamestown Police Department — to pass along our condolences,” Neiswonger said. “Because of the support that all the K-9 guys and Officer Kraft have given to me through Choper, we felt this was the very least we could do for him and the Jamestown Police Department.”

Neiswonger’s previous partner, K-9 Choper died of a fall taken during a training exercise on June 6, 2018.

“I made contact with the heads of the departments,” he said. “Everybody was very willing to help out and show their support.”

He asked for any available officers to participate by lining up along Route 62 at the state line.

Officers from Conewango Township Police Department, Warren County Sheriff’s Office, City of Warren Police Department, Pennsylvania Game Commission, Pennsylvania Bureau of Forestry, and Warren County Public Safety stood between their vehicles and saluted as the Jamestown Police Department vehicle bearing Kraft and Promber’s remains passed by. Other departments passed along their condolences and regrets as other obligations kept them from participating, Neiswonger said.

Neiswonger and Kibbey dropped their escort at the state line where it was taken up by about 12 vehicles from several agencies in New York.

Neiswonger said Kraft was appreciative of the show of support. “He was overwhelmed.”

“We work together all the time,” he said of the K-9 officers in the region. “We train together. It’s very important. We have a very close community and that doesn’t stop at the state line.”

The procession ended at the Jamestown Police Department, where a line of officers and city officials were waiting. Jamestown Mayor Eddie Sundquist said it was important to remember K-9 Promber, a young German shepherd named after Dunkirk native Det. Steve Promber who died in March 2019.

“We wanted a large public event to honor him,” Sundquist said.

Lt. Timothy Jackson, interim chief of the Jamestown Police Department, said he was shocked to learn of K-9 Promber’s passing. “It was completely unexpected. I was in complete shock,” Jackson said.

Jackson noted that police dogs play an important role, not only for police departments that rely on their tracking ability and narcotics detection, but for the community as well.

“It’s a huge loss to the entire K-9 community and the citizens of Jamestown as well because he’s a great tool for a variety of reasons,” Jackson said.

He added: “It’s his partner, but you develop a bond, and so it’s upsetting. He was obviously upset.”

Eric Tichy contributed to this story.

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