BUFFALO, N.Y. - An all-around good guy is how friends of Buffalo Police Officer Craig Lehner describe him. He went missing during a training exercise with the Buffalo Police Underwater Recovery dive team on Friday.
"He loved being on the Buffalo Police Department," said his friend Stephanie Rivera. "He really, really is passionate about his work and compassionate too."
Lehner was with the K9 unit for over a year and was dedicated to his dog Shield. "Shield was on social media just as much as Craig was because he loved that dog like his own child," Rivera said.
It was Rivera who recruited the officer to play flag football with the Kostas Spartans. "He was definitely a better player than most of us."
Lehner is a graduate of Akron High School.
A close family friend has an image on his Facebook page that reads, "THE MAN OF STEEL US ARMY/BUFFALO PD." He said it's because Lehner served with the U.S. Army National Guard, and managed to escape danger, but was always ready to protect and serve.
In 2003, when a local soldier, Michael Williams was killed, Specialist Craig Lehner was upset because Williams helped train him.
"He genuiniely cared and I knew that from the beginning from the first moment I met Craig I knew he was a genuine person," according to Rivera.