Southold officer honored for saving man from drowning

John Crosser

Around 3:10 a.m. on a freezing Friday morning in March, Southold police received a call from a young woman saying her friend was stuck in the water somewhere in Greenport.

Officer John Crosser grabbed waders on the way to the scene March 4 and entered the chilly water after locating a 21-year-old man struggling in the water.

Mr. Crosser held the victim’s head above water while directing the fire department’s ice rescue team to their location. 

This heroic deed has earned Mr. Crosser the Southold Town Police Department’s 2016 Officer of the Year award. He was honored Friday at the Southampton Kiwanis Club’s annual East End Police Awards dinner at the Sea Star Ballroom in the Hyatt Place East End.

“It’s a really nice event,” Mr. Crosser said. “It was an honor. I’m happy.”

Southold Police Chief Martin Flatley gave a speech detailing Mr. Crosser’s rescue before presenting him with the award.

He said dispatchers told the caller to have the victim dial 911 from his cell so they could they could ping his phone for a better location. They eventually determined he was in Silver Lake.

Mr. Crosser and other officers spent over 30 minutes searching for the victim before they found him.

“As you can see, he doesn’t shy away from getting involved in a case like that,” Chief Flatley said. “He’s just a very good officer.”

Once at the scene, which Chief Flatley described as a “deep water lake surrounded by heavy reeds with no access points from shore,” Mr. Crosser entered the water to find the man about 100 feet from shore, semiconscious and suffering from hypothermia.

“It was a really good case — a really good save,” Chief Flatley said. “If we didn’t locate him, he definitely would have drowned. He was having trouble staying above water and in there for over an hour. [Mr. Crosser] and his squad mates make every member of our department proud.”

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Photo: Southold Town Police Officer John Crosser, right, receives the 2016 Officer of the Year award from Chief Martin Flatley, left, on Friday. (Credit: Nicole Smith)