February 7, 2014 Funeral for Slain Pittsburgh Police Dog Opened to Public

From The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review by Bill Vidonic, February 1, 2014

The Friday, February 7, 2014 funeral for slain Pittsburgh police K-9 Officer Rocco will be open to the public, city police said Saturday.

Initially, the 11 a.m. service at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall and Museum was closed to the public, at the request of Rocco’s handler, Phil Lerza.

“Due to the numerous calls and the overwhelming outpour of concern and support from the public for canine officer Rocco, Officer Lerza and his family have asked that the funeral service for canine Rocco be opened to the public,” police spokeswoman Diane Richard said in a statement .

Law enforcement officers and their families, public safety personnel and public officials will have priority for seating, Richard said. Doors for the funeral open at 10 a.m.

“The tremendous show of support has deeply touched the Lerza family and the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police,” Richard said.

A procession of canine officers will leave the police training academy on Washington Boulevard in Highland Park at 10 a.m. Friday and head to Soldiers and Sailors Hall. The hall has a seating capacity of 2,550, police said.

Several local police departments, including Pleasant Hills and Baldwin, collected money for a fund for the police dog at several intersections along Route 51 Saturday.

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