Ulster County’s law enforcement community is mourning the death of a veteran officer. Ulster County Corrections Sgt. Kerry Winters, 51, died on Thursday, Sept. 22 during an in-water rescue team dive-training exercise at the Ashokan Reservoir.
Sheriff Paul VanBlarcum said Tuesday, Sept. 27 that state police were still investigating the circumstances of Winters’s death, which occurred during a joint training exercise with dive teams from Dutchess and Greene counties. VanBlarcum said that Winters was a 15-year veteran of the dive team and had participated in dozens of investigations, recoveries and rescues, as well as monthly dive training with fellow deputies and members of the Ulster Hose dive team.
“As far as a diver, he was one of those guys you want diving next to you,” said VanBlarcum.
Winters had just begun his 31st year of service in the Sheriff’s Correction Division where, according to VanBlarcum, he worked as a day-shift supervisor in the busy intake area of the Ulster County Jail. Over the course of his career, Winters earned commendations for good conduct and outstanding service, including one incident where he caught an escaped prisoner and other where he disarmed a knife-wielding inmate. In addition to his duties as a diver, Winters had previously served on the Sheriff’s Emergency Response Team.
Friends may call Tuesday, Sept. 27, 2016 from 2-4 p.m. and 7-9 p.m. at Buono’s Funeral Service, Inc., 100 Main Street, Saugerties. A wake for Winters is scheduled for Wednesday, Sept. 28 from 2-7 p.m. at the Lazy Swan golf club, 1754 Old Kings Highway, Saugerties. Shuttle buses will carry mourners from Cantine Field to the wake. Funeral services are scheduled for Thursday, Sept. 29 at 10 a.m. at St. Joseph’s Roman Catholic Church in Glasco; interment will follow at St. Mary of the Snow Cemetery, Barclay Heights.