Local officers caravan to Westerville as fallen officers are laid to rest

Local officers caravan to Westerville as fallen officers are laid to rest (WKEF/WRGT)

UPDATE: Officers from across the Miami Valley met at the Dayton Airport Friday morning before leaving for Westerville for Officers Eric Joering and Anthony Morelli's funeral service.

Butler Township Police Chief John Porter says about 100 officers were expected to take part in the procession.

"They're able to get together and show a little support for each other. Travel together and then attend the funeral together with their friends," Chief Porter said.

Dayton Police Lt. Mark Ponichtera says it never gets easier going to a fellow officer's funeral.

"For an agency, it's positively gut-wrenching. Someone you see and work with every day and put your life on the line for the community every day, when that person is no longer there with you, it's a hard thing to swallow," Lt. Ponichtera said.

The procession left at 9 a.m. It was a caravan of flashing lights as the officers headed east on I-70.

"It's an awesome experience for many of the newer officers who've never done it before because they'll be able to stop and see how the general public really supports law enforcement and it's something many law enforcement officers don't see every day," Chief Porter said.

"We just have to be there and as you can see by the showing here this morning, everybody feels the same way. So, we're going to go as a group, as a region to travel there to Westerville and to pay our respects to our fallen brothers," Lt. Ponichtera said.

The procession was organized by the Miami County Law Enforcement Officers Memorial and the Montgomery County Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.


WESTERVILLE, Ohio (WKEF/WRGT) - Hundreds are expected to turn out today to say their final goodbyes to two Ohio police officers killed in the line of duty.

Officers from around the Miami Valley are gathering this morning to make the trip to St. Paul Catholic Church in Westerville.

WATCH: Officers from the Miami Valley caravan to Westerville to pay final respects to fallen officers.

Veteran police officers Anthony Morelli and Eric Joering were killed last Saturday when they responded to a 911 hang up. Police say when the officers arrived on the scene, a suspect opened fire, shooting and killing Morelli and Joering.

We spoke with several officers who are making the trip to Westerville today, they say even though they didn't know officers Morelli and Joering, they're part of a family. "Could've happened here, could've happened to me," Steve Lord from Miami County Sheriff's Department said. "Kind of rings or brings home to me the risk you take on a daily basis." A viewing is scheduled to begin this morning at 10:00, the officers' funeral will follow at 1:00 p.m.

FOX45/ABC22 will offer live coverage online throughout the day.

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