Crime And Law

Miami Valley police convoy to travel to Westerville for funeral of 2 fallen officers

A convoy of Miami Valley law enforcement officers will travel to Westerville Friday, when two officers killed in the line of duty will be laid to rest.

Also this week, Dayton police officers are wearing black sashes over their badges to honor the officers, Anthony Morelli, 54, and Eric Joering, 39. “To just signify that we’re in mourning because we’ve lost a member of our family,” Dayton police Lt. Mark Ponichtera said.

The Miami County Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Officers Memorial jointly organized the convoy. About 20 Dayton police officers will participate, Ponichtera said.

>> Westerville grieves slain officers; criminal charges filed against 2

“We realize it could be any one of us at any time and so no matter who’s in the car traveling, we realize that could be any of us,” Ponichtera said.

The Westerville police officers were fatally shot Feb. 10 while they responded to a 911 hang-up call. Morelli was a 29-year veteran of the Westerville Police Department, and Joering worked for the department for 16 years.

“Any call that we go on is extremely dangerous if someone is bent on criminal intent towards a police officer; that’s very difficult to mitigate,” Ponichtera said.

Most of the officers headed to the Columbus suburb will be doing so on their own time, showing their support for their brothers in blue.

Families of the slain officers suggest that donations be made in their names to Ohio Concerns of Police Survivors, a nonprofit organization that operates as a peer support network.

A public visitation is from 10 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. followed by a funeral Mass at St. Paul Catholic Church in Westerville.

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