This story is updated from an original article published in 2018.
On March 26, 2011, Bridgett Hastings got the knock on the door nobody could ever prepare for. Her longtime boyfriend, Trooper Kevin P. Dobson, was hit by a driver on the side of the 290 in the Town of Tonawanda. Trooper Dobson didn't survive.
"It was an urgent knocking," Hastings remembers. "And they kept knocking. I was like, 'I'm home. I'm coming. I hear you.'"
At the door was Trooper John G. Betker Jr. who worked with Trooper Dobson at NYSP Clarence Barracks. The two were close friends.
"Great guy," Trooper Betker said. "He was always there if you needed anything or if you had questions about anything."
Trooper Dobson had pulled someone over for a routine traffic stop. While Trooper Dobson was out of his vehicle, a passing driver was blinded by the rising sun and hit the trooper.
Eight years later, Trooper Dobson's death still serves as a sobering reminder of the dangers of the job.
"You need to be attentive when you drive to make sure that if there is an emergency vehicle that you appropriately take measures to make sure you give them the safety and the room they need to work," Trooper James O'Callaghan, public information officer for Troop A, said.
Trooper Dobson served with the State Police for 13 on Interstate Patrol. He joined the New York State Police in April 1997 and was assigned to the Clarence Barracks.
Hastings knew how important the job was to Trooper Dobson. Service was ingrained into his character.
"He was always a protector," she said. "Kevin was a protector over everything. Everyday he would put on the uniform, go out and try to make the state a better state."
New York State Police opened a new station in Clarence this past fall. Outside sits a memorial to Trooper Dobson and plaques honoring his sacrifice line the hallways. As another way to remember a fallen brother, the road was renamed Trooper Kevin P. Dobson Way.
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