Pittsburgh Mayor Presents Flag to Police Officer Who was with Slain Canine Officer

From The Tribune-Review, February 6, 2014

Pittsburgh Mayor Bill Peduto on Thursday presented the city’s flag to one of the three police officers with K-9 officer Rocco when he was stabbed.

Officer Phil Lerza was injured while capturing a fugitive Jan. 28 in Lawrenceville. Rocco, who was stabbed during the confrontation, died of his injuries Jan. 30. The mayor’s office released the text of what Peduto said during the ceremony, which read in part:

“The combination of control and courage needed in a canine officer are not found in every dog. But Rocco measured up in every way. He faced an assailant’s knife without hesitation, without retreat, and with a loyalty that reached beyond mere ‘trait’ and well into the realm of character.”

Lerza and his family attended the private ceremony in the mayor’s office.

Rocco’s funeral service begins at 11 a.m. Friday at Soldiers & Sailors Memorial Hall & Museum on Fifth Avenue in Oakland. A limited number of seats are available to the public. A funeral procession is scheduled to leave the Pittsburgh canine training academy on Washington Boulevard at 10 a.m.

Peduto said he will be unable to attend because of a previous commitment to a loved one out of town.

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