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Law enforcement, mourners gather for State Trooper Kevin Dobson's funeral

TROOPER FUNERAL

Law enforcement officers from across the region, state and beyond gather to remember State Trooper Kevin Dobson this morning in Clarence. (Derek Gee /Buffalo News)

CLARENCE -- Trooper Kevin Dobson left the State Police barracks last Saturday morning, but never came back to finish his shift.

After his funeral today at Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church, Dobson will make it back as the procession will drive by the barracks before heading to the cemetery.

Dobson, 43, was killed when he was hit by the driver of a pickup truck during a traffic stop on the Youngmann Memorial Highway in the Town of Tonawanda.

5:01 p.m.: Richard Dobson Jr., Kevin's brother, said his family does not blame the man who hit Trooper Dobson with his vehicle, nor the man who got pulled over. Watch more of what he had to say to reporters:

Also after the service, Trooper John Betker remembered his friend and co-worker:

2:31 p.m.: After the service, as flags were removed from the coffin, there were three volleys of gunfire from seven state troopers and a flyover by two helicopters.

Richard Dobson Jr., the older brother of the deceased trooper, issued a statement from the family saying it does not blame the 71-year-old driver of the truck that hit Trooper Dobson. The family said it is clear that the driver was momentarily blinded by the sun, looked down to follow the lines on the pavement and his vehicle swerved into Dobson.

More than 3,000 people attended the service, including law enforcement personnel from as far away as California and Texas.

2:16 p.m.: Listen to audio of the full service:

1:22 p.m.: The service is wrapping up and the church is beginning to empty.

There will be a few more elements to the ceremony outside before the procession departs, including flag presentations and a gun salute.

1:05 p.m.: Kevin Dobson's brother, Rich Dobson Jr., just spoke to the crowd.

Kevin's father, Dick Dobson Sr., is telling those gathered his son was proud to stand along side other men and women in uniform.

"That purple tie meant so much to him," Dick Dobson said.

12:49 p.m.: Bridgett Hastings, making a tearful plea, urges everyone to obey the speed limit and move over when police cars have someone else pulled over.

"Make sure you hold your loved ones close, and tell them you love them," she said.  "And always say goodbye."

12:46 p.m.: Kevin Dobson's partner, Bridgett Hastings, is now speaking before those gathered.

Their time together was way too short, said Hastings, who is recounting the morning he died.

"I was truly blessed to have him part of my life," she said.

12:42 p.m.: Jamie Dobson, Kevin's 15-year-old daughter, first read a poem and then addressed the crowd.

Jamie said her dad was always protective of her, and now she wishes she was more protetive of him.

"My dad was my role model," she said. "He risked his life everyday for other people."

She said her last words to him were "I love you."

12:33 p.m.: Here's what it looked and sounded like when Dobson's casket was carried into the church:

12:13 p.m.: Trooper John Betker Jr., a coworker and friend of Dobson, has begun addressing the crowd.

Betker said Dobson, known as "Dobber," had "a way about him that made everyone laugh."

"Just hearing his infectious laugh was powerful," Betker said.

12:10 p.m.: State Police Superintendent Joesph D'Amico has told the crowd Dobson will be remembered as a hard-working, well-liked member of law enforcement.

Kevin will always be in our lives, said D'Amico, who concluded his remarks by thanking Dobson for his service.

"May you rest in peace," he said.

12:02 p.m.: Pastor Patrick Jones has begun the service.

According to the program, State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico and Trooper Joseph Betker Jr., a friend and coworker of Dobson, will be giving tributes during the service.

11:47 a.m.: Watch the procession of vehicles to the church:

11:45 a.m.: People are still streaming into the church for the funeral, which started with an initial blessing but is now on hold while everyone gathers inside.

11:32 a.m.: Mourners and police have entered the church and the service has begun.

State Police estimate 3,000 law enforcement officers are in attendance, both inside and outside the church. Officers have come from as far away as Texas, New Hampshire and New Jersey.

10:49 a.m.: Governor Andrew M. Cuomo and Lt. Governor Robert J. Duffy are in attendance at this morning's services, and are seated in the front row with Dobson's family, according to a spokesman for the governor.

Cuomo will speak briefly to hundreds of state troopers and other law enforcement officers gathered outside the church before the service.

There will be a number of elements to this morning's ceremony outside the church, including three flag-foldings and presentations, as well as a gun salute. Weather permitting, there will also be a helicopter flyover.

10:37 a.m.: State Police Superintendent Joseph D'Amico and Commander Christopher Cummings spoke with reporters this morning.

Cummings called Dobson a "good cop" who was respected by others in the State Police, as well as members of other law enforcement agencies.

"The past few days, we've concentrated on not remembering Trooper Dobson died, but remembering how he lived," Cummings said. "Bececause Trooper Dobson lived every day to his fullest, and I think we can all learn from that.

Listen to their full comments here (Cummings speaks first):

9:35 a.m.: A multitude of law enforcment officers from across Western New York and beyond have gathered this morning at Eastern Hills Wesleyan Church for the funeral of State Trooper Kevin Dobson.

Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo is scheduled to attend the service, which begins at 11 a.m.

Drivers in sections of Amherst and Clarence should be aware of an extensive funeral procession this morning. The procession will leave Amigone Funeral Home, 5200 Sheridan Drive, at about 10:30 a.m. It will head east on Sheridan and then turn north onto Harris Hill Road, continuing up to the church.

Read Dobson's obituary here.

A probe into Dobson's death was focusing on glare from the sun, which may have affected the driver of the pickup truck.

Watch Dobson's colleagues react to the news of his death:

--Aaron Besecker

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