29 Apr K-9 officer statue to be erected on Pittsburgh’s North Shore
Visitors to North Shore Drive in Pittsburgh, between Heinz Field and the Ohio River, are presently greeted by an “Ever Watchful” policeman statue. Now, that statue is set to gain a canine companion, paying tribute to fallen local K-9 officers.
Both of these police statues will share a sculptor – Susan Wagner, who got a K-9 German shepherd called Bandit to pose for her in her Friendship studio. As she recalled: “After he sniffed all around me he decided he liked me so he came over. He would brush against me, knock me over. He didn’t mean to.”
Efforts to put up a statue have been boosted by a $2,000 donation from the Pittsburgh civil and social organization, Amen Corner. A total of $50,000 in funds is being sought by the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial, Inc. of Allegheny County.
Sherriff’s Commander Donna Best said that four K-9s in the County had been killed in the line of duty, adding: “Rocco was the last K-9 killed. And I think it brought to the attention not only of all the law enforcement community, but also the public in general that canines are part of our law enforcement.”
Best said that there were presently 62 K-9 officers working with their police officer handlers to ensure the safety of Allegheny County residents.
Wagner is well-known among Pittsburgh sports fans for her statues of Roberto Clemente and other PNC Park legends, with CBS Pittsburgh describing her work as “thought provoking, even when she’s molding baseball players in bronze.”
Her statue of Clemente was hailed for its grace and speed, while another statue created for the Pirates, depicting Willie Stargell, captures his muscular, raw power. Wagner was also responsible for a suitably exuberant portrayal of Bill Mazeroski, after his historic home run against the Yankees.
She has also previously depicted Jackie Robinson, for his New Jersey foundation, in addition to many other Baseball Hall of Fame inductees. Despite this, she has said that she doesn’t follow sports, commenting: “It’s not about baseball, it’s about the art. And it’s about the man and the human spirit in it.”
Here at Big Statues, we look forward to seeing how Wagner’s portrayal of man’s best friend compares to the galaxy of other acclaimed police statues across the United States.