A police dog killed in the line of duty will soon become part of a Pittsburgh landmark.
Pittsburgh artist Susan Wagner is creating a bronze statue of K-9 officer Rocco to honor him.
“I was so happy to be able to do this for the police,” said Wagner.
The statue she is making will go right next to the police officer that she created for the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on the North Shore.
“The K-9 deserves attention. They are very much loved by their partners,” Wagner said. The statue is being built in pieces at a foundry in Cleveland. The head has already been completed, and the statue will be almost life-size.
Channel 11 witnessed the bronze being poured into the body of the cast. After bronze bars are melted and heated to the right temperature, it's carefully poured into a ceramic cylinder. Inside, a wax mold is melted down, and the bronze will fill up the cavity to make the statue. Wagner said she has wanted to make a K-9 for years and just joined forces with the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial this year to make the K-9 memorial a reality.
“We have four K-9s in Allegheny County that have been killed in the line of duty. Rocco last year in January brought it to everyone's attention that our partners were left out,” said Cmdr. Donna Best, the president of the Law Enforcement Officers K-9 Memorial.
Best said the group is $50,000 short on its funding and could use the public’s help. It's something that Wagner said everyone in Pittsburgh will benefit from. “The idea is these both go to watch over the spirit of the fallen policemen watching over our city,” she said.
The statue is on schedule to be unveiled at a yearly ceremony in May.
Credit: John Spink / John.Spink@ajc.com