The Chautauqua County Sheriff’s Office mourned 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, entire family and many friends,” the department said in a Facebook post.
First responders were alerted around 1:30 p.m. Saturday to an individual who had fallen into Lake Chautauqua in the Martha’s Vineyard area in the town of Ellery. The 62-year-old, later identified as a Bentley, was transported to UPMC Chautauqua in Jamestown where he was pronounced dead.
Bentley oversaw the sheriff’s office patrol and special teams; he began his career with the department in 1985 after working with the Ellicott and Fredonia Police Departments.
During his career, Bentley worked as a patrol assistant, DWI law enforcement detail, and as an investigator with the Southern Tier Regional Drug Task Force. He was later promoted to patrol sergeant and then patrol lieutenant.
Bentley was then made 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 as a sheriff. It was John Bentley who hired current Sheriff James Quattrone.
John Bentley died 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 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 journeys they took with their father. to spark their own interest in becoming police officers.
“That’s what we knew growing up,” John Bentley Jr. told newspapers in 2018. “At that moment, I knew what I was going to do.”
“It was a hell of a ride” David Bentley added.
During his tenure in the Sheriff’s Office, David Bentley was in charge of the SWAT team, was a firearms instructor, and also taught many subjects at Sheriff’s Academy. He was also a graduate of the FBI National Academy.
Bentley is survived by his wife, Kim, his children Erik and Kaitlyn, and his grandson Sawyer.
“Captain Bentley was well known not only in the law enforcement community, but throughout the community,” says the department. “Captain Bentley has been involved in training most Chautauqua County active law enforcement as a range instructor and field training officer. Although he enjoyed formal instruction, he also mentored countless officers from many agencies throughout his career.
“Captain Bentley will be greatly missed, but his memory and his legacy will live on.”