Rochester Police Officer Manny Ortiz died in a one-vehicle accident Nov. 2, according to the Monroe County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies responded at 7:01 p.m. 1385 Empire Blvd. in Penfield and found a vehicle in a ravine. The driver, later identified as Ortiz, was the only occupant.
Ortiz was 52. He was a 22-year veteran of the Rochester Police Department. He worked in the Community Affairs Bureau as a crime prevention officer.
RPD posted on Twitter an announcement of Ortiz’s death: “The @RochesterNYPD mourns the loss of Officer Manuel “Manny” Ortiz, a 22 year veteran of the RPD after a tragic accident. Please keep the RPD Family and the Ortiz Family in your thoughts & prayers during this difficult time. RIH Manny.”
The Rochester Police Locust Club, the union that represents officers, released a statement: “We will always remember Manny’s infectious smile, love of his career, and zest for life. Truly loved, his loss is immeasurable for his brothers and sisters of the Rochester Police Locust Club. As we go forward in our service to others, we will serve with honor in our heart, and a tear in our eye in remembrance of our truly loved and missed brother. We ask that everyone join us in prayers for Manny’s family, for his brothers and sisters in blue. It has been a long night, month, year … We now have a beloved protector in heaven who will watch over all of us!”
City Council President Loretta C. Scott issued a statement: The City Council extends our sincere condolences to the family of Officer Ortiz, as well as the men and women of the Rochester Police Department. This is a tragic loss for our community and our thoughts and prayers are with everyone affected by Officer Ortiz’s death.”
Monroe County Sheriff Todd Baxter said in a news release Nov. 3 that Good Samaritans traveling behind Ortiz’s vehicle came to his aid. Baxter said that sheriff department technicians and investigators continued to process the scene and that deputies are canvassing the area for surveillance video from homes or businesses.
The accident scene is near Lucien Morin Park. Ortiz was traveling westbound toward the city to begin his shift on the fourth platoon.
The vehicle was towed and will be examined as part of the investigation. The Monroe County Medical Examiner’s Office is scheduled to perform an autopsy.
Baxter said that first responders are receiving mental health counseling “as they process the sudden death of a fellow law enforcement officer and friend.”
This is the second traumatic incident for the Rochester Police Department within the past month.
On Oct. 4, Officer Denny Wright was seriously injured when responding to a call for family trouble at 37 Peck St. On Oct. 25, Wright was released from rehabilitation at Unity Hospital. His alleged attacker, Keith Williams, was indicted by a Monroe County grand jury.
Additionally, an officer sustained what RPD said were minor injuries Nov. 2 when responding to a complaint of drug sales near Portland Avenue and Grafton Street and attempting to arrest an individual.