TUPPER LAKE — Family, friends and the Tupper Lake Police Department are mourning today after the death of Sgt. Matthew Dana, who was 27 years old.
He died Sunday evening at the Tupper Lake home he shared with his girlfriend. An autopsy investigation is still underway as several reports are pending, so the cause of death was unavailable Monday evening.
Dana entered the Tupper Lake Police Department as a part-time officer in 2012 after he finished college, then full-time in 2013 after he finished the police academy.
“Matt was very intelligent; he caught on very quickly,” village Chief of Police Eric Proulx said Monday. “He demonstrated those skills very early on that he could handle being a supervisor.”
Dana was promoted to the rank of sergeant on Sept. 21, 2016, on Proulx’s recommendation. Results of his country sergeant civil service exam have not been posted yet.
Dana actively pursued narcotics investigations with a strong desire to alleviate Tupper Lake’s drug problem. Sitting on the Franklin County narcotics task force, executing search warrants and performing undercover operations, Dana worked diligently and was well-liked by co-workers and the public alike.
“A lot of my officers looked up to him,” Proulx said, “even if they were older than him.”
Proulx appreciated his work ethic. According to him, when Dana took overtime, it was money well spent.
“I trusted him to do his job. I trusted his decision making,” Proulx said. “He made the community a better and safer place to live. He helped take a number of drug dealers off the street and bring them into the justice system.”
Outside of the police force, Dana liked to be outdoors, hiking and fishing. He was a graduate of Tupper Lake High School in the Class of 2008, North Country Community College in the Class of 2010 and the State University of New York at Canton in the Class of 2012.
He has many friends from college and the police academy, with dozens of them — along with his family and Tupper Lake friends — changing their profile pictures and banners on Facebook to an image of a thin blue line with his name to memorialize and remember him.
“He was an outgoing, enthusiastic, fair person who tried to treat everybody the same way and tried to make Tupper Lake a better place,” Proulx said.
Dana’s family said they would like to leave some time before commenting.
Calling hours will be held on Wednesday from 4 p.m. to 7 at the Tupper Lake Christian Center at 102 Main St. in Tupper Lake. A funeral service will be held Thursday at 11 a.m. at the same location.