Erie Police will soon lay another brother officer to rest.
Chief Dan Spizarny says the two officers died from similar symptoms related to COVID-19. It’s been a difficult time for everyone in the police department as two of their own were taken away in such a short amount of time.
Another sorrowful moment for Chief Spizarny, along with other officers as they get ready to put 24-year veteran Gary Taccone to rest. According to Spizarny, the 56-year old passed away from COVID-19.
47-year old officer Jason Belton died 10 days before Officer Taccone. Chief Spizarny says he also had symptoms of COVID-19 and he believes their deaths were during the line of duty.
These two fallen officers were known to impact the Erie community in a positive way. Chief Spizarny recalled a powerful moment in the career of Sgt. Taccone. In 2007, he was one of two Erie Police officers who tried to rescue an Ohio officer from a car fire.
“It just shows there are heroes amongst us,” Chief Spizarny said.
Meanwhile, the other heroic moment came when both Taccone and Belton helped a woman and her family after a bad car accident.
“She wrote to the department at the time to thank the two officers that were there and were instrumental in putting him at ease and taking care of them. And the two officers were Jason Belton and Gary Taccone,” Chief Spizarny said.
There is no word if the two officers had been vaccinated or not, but Mayor Joe Schember says there will be no vaccine mandate.
“We’re not going to look at private information and say ‘Hey, you haven’t done this yet.’ We will continue to encourage everybody to please get vaccinated,” Mayor Schember said.
“It just sums up that we’ve lost two excellent officers,” Chief Spizarny said.
The viewing for Gary is this Sunday from 2:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m. while the funeral service is Monday at 11:00 a.m.
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