The Lackawanna College Police Academy will honor the cadets of Class 217 during a graduation ceremony on Friday, July 25, 2014 at 6 p.m. at the Theater at Lackawanna College, 501 Vine St., Scranton, Pa. Students being honored are from the Scranton campus.
In the tradition of the Lackawanna College Policy Academy, Class No. 217 selected a fallen officer in whose memory they have dedicated their training, graduation, and service. Class No. 217 selected K-9 Officer Rocco of the Pittsburgh Police Department.
Officer Rocco succumbed to stab wounds sustained while protecting his handler and another officer, who were involved in a violent struggle with a fugitive.
The subject had attempted to disarm a deputy earlier in the day when an Allegheny County sheriff’s deputy attempted to arrest him for failure to register as a sex offender and home invasion. The man was able to flee after struggling with the deputy and fled to the 3700 block of Butler St., Pittsburgh, where he was located several hours later.
An officer located him the basement of a building. When they entered the darkened room, the man began swinging a five-inch knife at them, wounding both officers.
K9 Rocco attacked the subject but suffered a deep stab wound to the back, which punctured his kidney and spine. Rocco was taken to an emergency animal hospital where he underwent multiple surgeries and blood transfusions, but died two days later.
The subject was taken into custody and faces multiple charges.
K9 Rocco had served with the Pittsburgh Police Department for five years.
Several local K-9 units are expected to be in attendance to help honor Officer Rocco, along with Wilkes-Barre Mayor Tom Leighton and Police Chief Gerard E. Dessoye, the Wilkes-Barre Police Department Honor Guard, and the Wyoming Valley Pipe and Drum Corps.
The guest speaker at the July 25 graduation ceremony is Major Douglas E. Grimes, executive director of the Municipal Police Officers’ Education and Training Commission.
MPOETC was established in 1974 to set certification and training standards for police officers employed in the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania.
Lackawanna College’s Police Academy locations in Scranton and Hazleton are two of the 25 locations in the state that are certified by the commission to provide Act 120 training to police officers.
Several cadets will graduate in their department uniforms as they have already been hired by municipal police departments in the region.
Cadets expected to graduate, in alphabetical order, are:
· Mathew S. Batzel, Honesdale
· Jesse D. Bowers, Scranton
· Eric J. Castellano, Scranton
· John P. Colton, Brackney
· Kyle W. Fisher, Coplay
· Tyler M. Hames, Millmont
· Andrew M. Hashagen, White Haven
· Joseph J. Homza, Forty Fort
· Daniel G. Knowles, East Stroudsburg
· Brett M. LaBar, Jacksonville, N.C.
· Michael Layton-Herron, Harrisburg
· Corey L. McLinko, Towanda
· Bryan Mock, Wilkes-Barre
· Brandon Lee Natale, Cresco
· Tiare J. Nimmo, Wilkes-Barre
· Vito W. Perugino, West Wyoming
· Jennifer M. Polemitis, Scranton
· Eddie Rodriguez, Easton
· Adam N. Romig, Mifflinburg
· Daniel J. Roper, Nanticoke
· Carman A. Wega, Littlestown
· Samson D. Wega, Littlestown
· Michael F. Zuby, Taylor