PITTSBURGH (KDKA) -- Shortly after Rocco, Pittsburgh's slain K9, passed away, sculptor Susan Wagner offered to make a unique addition to the Law Enforcement Officer Memorial that she had originally designed on the North Shore.
"It's time," Wagner told KDKA political editor Jon Delano. "It's time that we honored the K9s, because we always wanted to do this."
As originally constructed, the police officer stands alone. But that will change with the newly-sculpted K9 sitting right at the officer's feet.
Wagner, known for the PNC Park statues of Roberto Clemente and Willie Stargell, worked with the Fraternal Order of Police's Law Enforcement Memorial Committee to create a statue to honor all K9s.
Rocco inspired this, but everyone decided it was for all the K9s," said Wagner. "They should all be honored."
So far, four K9s in Allegheny County have been lost in the line of duty, says retired Plum Borough Police Sgt. Ed Lackey, vice chair of the committee.
"One dog was shot. One was struck by a car, and two were stabbed to death," noted Lackey.
Wagner rejected her first design when she saw a picture of a K9 up on the statue, and then she used a K9 named Bandit as her model.
"He was a sweetheart. He was very, very sweet," she said.
There's still a problem. While Wagner is donating much of her services, it costs money to construct and erect the K9 statue.
"We need $50,000," says Lackey, "and currently we've raised about $20,000. So we're about $30,000 short of our goal right now."
Lackey hopes dollars can be raised by May when the statue is planned to be erected.
"Those dogs gave their lives to save the lives of police officers as well as civilians, too, so I think it is important to honor them," adds Lackey.
Donations can be mailed to:
Greater Pittsburgh Police FCU
1338 Chartiers Ave.
Pittsburgh, Pa. 15220
For more information, visit this link.
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