March 14, the Johnson Costello Post 355 of the American Legion recognized two local law enforcement officers for their service to their community.

Deputy Seth Skelly

Yates County Deputy Sheriff Seth Skelly was honored as the 2019 Officer of the Year based on the nomination by Sheriff Ronald Spike. 

Skelly graduated from Bath Haverling high school, attended Corning Community College, then joined the U.S. Army as a military police officer, and after became a VA hospital police officer. He joined the Yates County Sheriff Office in 2015 as Marine Patrol Officer and was appointed a Deputy Sheriff in 2016 after graduating from the Elmira Law Enforcement Academy, and was assigned to the Road Patrol.

Skelly has received several letters of recognition and the STOP DWI award of merit. June 29, 2019, he responded to a call for a 2-year-old drowning in a swimming pool in rural Italy Valley. He arrived on the scene within three minutes, finding the boy unconscious. He immediately began CPR to the lifeless child, and continued for 10 minutes before a Naples Fire Dept. first responder arrived. Skelly retrieved his CPR mask from his patrol car and started giving breaths. Thirteen minutes after EMS personnel arrived and began care, they reported a pulse. The boy was evacuated by helicopter to Strong Memorial Hospital where he survived. Skelly has also completed 160 hours of advanced training, and is part of the Yates County Sheriff’s Office Accident Reconstruction Unit.

The Yates County Legislature recognized Skelly as county officer of the year for 2019 in a resolution that was unanimously adopted April 13.

Officer Jeffrey Stewart

Penn Yan School Resource Officer Jeffrey Stewart was selected by his fellow officers as the 2019 Penn Yan Officer of the Year.

Members of the PYPD select one officer to be honored. Each member of the department votes on who they feel has exceeded the duty requirements of his or her position and has demonstrated a distinct pattern of community service coupled with professional achievement. Officers may also consider specific acts of heroism or incidents where an officer went above and beyond the call of duty. Stewart began his career in law enforcement in 1996 as a corrections officer at the Yates County Jail. He was hired full time with the Penn Yan Police Department in 2003. Prior to beginning his career in law enforcement Stewart attended Hilbert College, where he studied Criminal Justice. Stewart also successfully completed police basic school at the Finger Lakes Law Enforcement Academy in Canandaigua. He is a certified bike patrol officer, and serves as the department’s defensive tactics instructor. 

In 2017, Stewart was selected as the Penn Yan Police Department’s School Resource Officer to help create a safer environment for students and staff, and to bridge the gap between the community and law enforcement. While Stewart’s main responsibility is the safety of the school, he also prepares and teaches kids classes on topics such as drug prevention, bullying, and self-respect.