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Getting back to Wellsville was a long road for Officer Dibble

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Wellsville graduate, former City of Rochester police officer, is now a full-time member of the Wellsville Police Department

Column By JOHN ANDERSON

When Ryan Dibble was a senior in high school, he flew under the radar during his four years at Wellsville until his final home game of the football season.

There was a report he was in the Woodlawn Cemetery and someone had reported a teenager was acting suspicious around a couple of the tombstones. In high school, it’s customary to have someone wear your away football jersey on Friday to school and the players wear their home jersey.

It turned out, he was leaving his away jersey for his last game at the gravesites of his aunt and uncle, Deborah and Steve Dibble, who had passed away several years earlier in a horrific car accident on East State Street.

As the years went on, that column became a reason for Ryan and I to stay in touch. The only favor he ever asked was putting together a surprise video when he returned from the service and was proposing to his now wife, Kelly.

But after that, I kind of lost touch with Ryan. He moved to the City of Rochester and became a city police officer. I moved on to Batavia and then Texas and was busy with my own career.

Sitting in my office late one night, scrolling Instagram, a live video popped up as something popular in “my area.”

That’s when I saw Ryan. He had been on patrol, sitting in his car with a partner on one of the worst corners for drugs and crime in the city. Instead of patrolling, it was easier just to sit there and let the crime come to the police.

A man was walking with his child, just above infant age, when someone robbed a store and fled in a vehicle. The vehicle struck the child. Ryan’s partner and another car took off after the vehicle. Ryan jumped out, ran across the intersection and called 911. It was at this point he was on an Instagram live video. It appeared on video, the onlookers were not interested in helping solve the crime or calling 911, but rather capturing the moment on cell phones and focusing on the child.

Ryan tried lifesaving measures but it was too late. I will never forget seeing the father watching Ryan cradle the child asking him to save his baby. As the sirens were getting closer, Ryan said, “If he is going to take his last breath, it should be in the arms of his father,” as he gently handed the child over with ambulances pulling up.

A moment that became emotional was halted by the screams of onlookers telling Ryan he refused to help save the baby. They questioned his uniform and his integrity.

What they didn’t know is, Ryan rehabbed his way through a devastating knee injury to get back on the streets. He had it made, he was in charge of watching security footage all day from an office chair in a secure room. He could have milked that until retirement, but instead decided to run back into fire.

They also didn’t realize how much he cared about his co-workers and the residents of the City of Rochester.

But it all changed that night. When I saw Ryan next, I brought up that I watched the video and he seemed surprised, and embarrassed that someone recognized him. But he quietly said, “That was the moment I knew I had to move home. My goal is to become a police officer for the Village of Wellsville.”

It took several years for an opening to come up, but during a quiet village board meeting recently, Officer Dibble became a full-time member of the Wellsville Police Department.

A photo and a short story in the Wellsville Sun was enough to jog the name for veteran radio and news reporter Bob Lonsberry in Rochester. He went through some old posts on Twitter (now X) and found one from Oct. 1, 2022.

Again, a senseless crime against a child.

A boy named Marlo Joseph, 3, was shot in the head on North Clinton Avenue on Sept. 28, 2022, a result of crossfire between two groups of people on a Wednesday late afternoon.

During the shooting, the boy was in a parked car and an adult near the vehicle jumped in to shield the toddler, police said. However, a bullet struck Marlo and he was critically injured.

As anger over gun violence and shootings grabbed the headlines, Dibble went quietly behind the scenes again. Like the other incidents, it made news, and Lonsberry remembered.

Lonsberry reposted a tweet from Oct. 1, 2022. Dibble wrote in a card to Mario’s mother, “From one parent to another, from my family and friends to you and Mario. No parent should ever have to go through this. We are all thinking of you. Please accept this to give Mario a special birthday and Christmas. #MarleStrong (signed) Officer Ryan Dibble.”

And inside the card? Dibble left two $200 Visa gift cards.

Lonsberry told his followers Dibble was now an officer in Wellsville.

As Ryan left his final shift with the City of Rochester Police Department to start in Wellsville a few weeks ago, he had one final visit.

After two years, Marlo had recovered. He was running and jumping around like a kid again. This time, Ryan brought toys for the youngster. His last day in Rochester was finally one to remember.

Dibble then started down 390 South to start a new chapter of career. One probably free of headlines again. But a major gain for Wellsville.

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