10 April 2016

Law Enforcement Officers Memorial of Allegheny County

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Pittsburgh has several war memorials including the nearby Korean War, Vietnam War, and World War II memorials. This monument remembers the heroes of a different kind of war. This war is one that never ends and hits very close to home. At this memorial we remember and honor the law enforcement officers who have given their lives to protect us right here, in this state, this county, this city. This is the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial of Allegheny County.

First dedicated in 1996, it was relocated to it’s present location when the new stadiums were constructed, and rededicated in 2003.

A row of seven flags provide a backdrop to the monument. The bronze statue of an officer looks toward the city with Ever Watchful inscribed on his pedestal. The inscription is also the title of this sculpture by Susan Wagner. In a Post Gazette article by Paula Reed Ward, Ms Wagner said The theme is that the spirit of the fallen police officers are still watching over our city.

On a black granite wall at the base of the American flag are the names of local, state and federal law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty who lived in Allegheny County. The list of names goes back as far as 1885.

Perhaps the simplest thing at this monument is also the most poignant. A red call box sits off to the side with the words Last Call.

We found a Facebook, page for the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial of Allegheny County. On it, they place an entry on the anniversary of each officer's death with their photograph. It seems an integral part of this memorial.

The poem inscribed on the granite wall is titled "A Part of America Died" by retired Detective Harry Koch, MCSO.

Somebody killed a policeman today, and a part of America died.
A piece of our country he swore to protect, will be buried with him at his side.
The suspect who shot him will stand up in court, with counsel demanding his rights,
While a young widowed mother must work for her kids, and spend alone many long nights.
The beat that he walked was a battlefield, too, just as if he'd gone off to war.
Though the flag of our nation won't fly at half mast, to his name they will add a gold star.
Yes, somebody killed a policeman today, it happened in your town or mine.
While we slept in comfort behind our locked doors, a cop put his life on the line.
Now, his ghost walks a beat on a dark city street, and he stands at each new rookie's side.
He answered the call and gave us his all, and a part of America died.

After the loss of K9 officer Rocco in the line of duty, it was decided that it was only right that our four-legged officers also be remembered here. In 2014 artist Susan Wagner volunteered to create the K9 addition to this memorial. She used a K9 named Bandit as her model and in 2015 the bronze sculpture took it's rightful place, watching over our city.

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