OLEAN - To be called a role model is one thing. When the sitting sheriff has a photo hanging on his wall, the title has been duly earned. One such deputy and canine officer not only has such an honor, but will be forever remembered by helping those looking for a career in law enforcement.
A new scholarship fund has been established by the Cattaraugus Region Community Fund. The new scholarship will help to fund one that has been in place since Deputy Wayne Krieger passed away in 2010.
Krieger was a Cattaraugus County Sheriff's deputy from 1976 until 2000. In that time, he served as the agency's first canine officer, with his bloodhound, Sadie, by his side. Over the time he served, he and his fellow four-legged officers took part in several high-profile cases, including a Depew bank robbery in 1986 that resulted in Kreiger taking the stand in a federal court case. Others included the rescue of a young boy in Chaffee in 1983, when the boy traveled too close to quicksand, and was also credited with saving the life of a girl that had become lost near Cattaraugus Creek, in Delevan, in 1999.
Krieger continued to serve the law enforcement community, teaching the next generation criminal justice at BOCES campuses in Belmont, Ellicottville and Olean. He also served the youth of the county as a DARE officer from 1995 until his retirement in 2000.
"He was a mentor to community youth for many years," Cattaraugus County Sheriff Timothy S. Whitcomb said. "His picture is proudly displayed on the wall in my office. I call it the wall of fame. Military personnel or law enforcement officers who have had a significant influence on my life are placed on my wall. The only other prerequisite to get on the wall is you need to die. Eight men on it so far, Wayne is one of them. Hope the list doesn't grow too fast."
The Wayne Krieger Memorial Scholarship is available to any graduating senior that is studying criminal justice at Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES, and who plan to continue studying the law enforcement field in college.
"He was a mentor to community youth for many years."
Timothy S. Whitcomb
Cattaraugus County sheriff
The scholarship was established by Krieger's family, who organizes an annual fundraising event each year to help fund three scholarships - one at each of the BOCES sites where Krieger taught. This year each scholarship will be $750. Applications for the award are available through BOCES.
"It is truly special for our family to see the outpouring of love and support from the community that Deputy Krieger loved to serve," said his daughter, Christa Heckathorn, a current Cattaraugus County Sheriff's Deputy. "Since dad's passing in 2010, this scholarship has awarded $5,000 to area youth. We are excited about collaborating with the Cattaraugus Region Community Foundation for many more years of Wayne's legacy and 'Paying it Forward.'"
The Wayne Krieger Memorial Scholarship committee will be holding a comedy musical dinner theater fundraiser in April. "The Great American Trailer Park Musical" will be performed on April 26 at the Old Library Events in Olean. The musical is being presented by Dramatists Play Services, Inc., New York and directed by Nathan H. Bell. Limited seats are available. For tickets, $50 (includes dinner and show), or more information call 474-7235 or email Christa2076@gmail.com. Donations to the scholarship can now be made directly to the fund in care of the Community Foundation at 120 North Union St., Olean, and online at www.cattfoundation.org.