More than 40 K-9 officers and their dogs stood at attention as the funeral procession for Rocky passed through Veterans Memorial Park Monday morning to honor the German shepherd killed in the line of duty last week.
The procession, featuring dozens of police cars, passed through the Calverton park filled with officers from departments across Long Island and beyond, including a contingent of NYPD officers. The K-9 dogs, many wearing badges around their collars, sat next to their handler. Community members who wished to pay their respects stood opposite the officers.
“It’s basically Rocky’s day,” said Riverhead K-9 Officer John ‘Jack’ Doscinski, who works alongside the newest dog in the department, Titan.
Rocky died in the early morning Sept. 2 when the vehicle he was in crashed. Officer John Morris was responding to a police pursuit after a driver fled a DWI checkpoint and injured an officer. Rocky was 8 years old.
Following a private ceremony Monday, the funeral procession passed through Veterans Memorial Park and continued to Riverhead where it ended at police headquarters.
Mr. Doscinski remembered Rocky as a narcotics expert who assisted in countless police cases.
“He’s apprehended robbery suspects, burglary suspects,” he said. “He was a very active, seasoned police dog.”
Trooper Andrew Gargiulo, a K-9 officer with the New York State Police, said it was important to support Mr. Morris and his fallen dog.
“It’s a bond that can’t be broken,” he said.
Mr. Gargiulo’s K-9 partner is TJ, a Belgian Malinois. Like most K-9s, TJ is named after an officer, he said. Trooper Thomas J. Consorte was killed in November 1987 in Riverhead when he was struck by a vehicle while investigating a motor vehicle accident.
Officer Brendan Gayer was one of more than a dozen K-9 handlers from the Suffolk County Police Department who paid tribute to Rocky.
“It’s extremely important for all of us to come out here and show our support for Officer John Morris, for the Riverhead Police Department, for K-9 Rocky, and make sure everybody knows how much we respect, appreciate and remember him.”
The procession for Rocky arrives at Veterans Memorial Park in Calverton. pic.twitter.com/bYj8wXoJf5
— RiverheadNewsReview (@riverheadnews1) September 10, 2018