Bronze statues dedicated to fallen Berks officers, K9s

BERN TWP., Pa. - It was a ceremony meant for a hero and, in this case, 18 of them

"We saw the need, years ago, to honor the 18 members of law enforcement that paid the ultimate sacrifice," said Sgt. Joseph Brown of the West Reading Police Department and president of the Berks County Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 71.

One by one, family members laid down flowers in remembrance. Then, two bronze statues were unveiled at the Berks County Police Memorial on Red Bridge Road in Bern Township, one to remember the fallen officers and another for the fallen K9 officers.

"He was serving a warrant with a task force when they were ambushed by the suspect and they were shot and killed," said Alecia Pagerly, the widow of Berks County K9 Deputy Kyle Pagerly, who was killed in 2011 after five years with the sheriff's office..

Alecia said he would be so proud of the memorial.

"I think he'd be extremely happy that they're including the dogs, because he was a big advocate of how much the K9's really help the police and keep them safe," she said.

"A lot of people think that the dogs are not police officers, just like we are, but they are," said Deputy Scott Henry of the Berks County sheriff's K9 unit. "They go through immense training, the same kind of training we do, and we train a lot with them."

In addition to the unveiling of the new statues, other structures at the memorial were repaired

"We also have a veterans memorial here that was originally built as part of the memorial and we restored that to remember our veterans," Brown said.

The memorial, one central location where all fallen Berks County officers can be remembered, can be visited year-round.

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