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Retired police officer drowns while trying to rescue dog

Retired Lt. Sam Vitter
Retired Lt. Sam Vitter
Via the Advocate

According to Monday's publication of The Advocate, a recently retired police deputy drowned while attempting to rescue a small dog in Prairieville, La., who had escaped from a fenced yard on Sunday morning.

The body of 56-year-old Sam Vitter, who had retired as a lieutenant from the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office less than a year ago, was found in the Spanish Oaks pond on Sunday afternoon. Vitter is believed to have plunged into the water to rescue his Yorkshire terrier who had slipped beneath the fence which surrounded the family's yard.

The little dog's frantic barking at the water's edge, along with Vitter's keys and shoes, prompted neighborhood residents to call the authorities for help. After going door-to-door in search of the owner of the items, responding deputies realized that the person they were searching for was the deputy who had served for 32 years with their department.

Lt. Col. Bobby Webre spoke of Vitter's tragic death to WAFB News:

You think it couldn't happen to someone who gave 32 years of his life in law enforcement and things he may have seen over the years."

"Life is precious and you just don't know what can happen to you and again we experienced that today with the tragic loss of one of our veteran guys.

Sheriff Jeff Wiley of the Ascension Parish Sheriff's Office added:

Sam was not only a long serving deputy in our department, he was a great leader who devoted his entire life to serving others,”

“This is a great loss to this department,”

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