Montclair State University students, alumni and faculty said goodbye to a beloved member of the campus community on Aug. 3, when Falco, a member of the Montclair State Police Department’s K9 unit, died from a heart defect at age 8, according to a press release published by the university.
A purebred German Shepherd, Falco worked with Officer Bill Comerro and specialized in identifying fire arms and explosives according to scent.
Falco began serving the Montclair State community in 2008, when Susan Cole swore him into service. In addition to serving the University, he worked with several other local police departments, conducted several on-site bomb sweeps for officials such as President Barack Obama and Governor Chris Christie, and participated in DARE programs at local elementary schools.
Police Chief Paul Cell commented on the loss of Falco in the university-issued press release, saying, “Falco, a familiar and reassuring presence to our students, faculty and staff, was an integral part of our agency and its proactive safety programs. As with the loss of any Police Department member, we mourn his passing.”
Comerro, Falco’s handler, shared similar words of remembrance and sadness with the campus community in the release. “He was the best working partner an officer could ever hope for,” Comerro said. “He will be missed and never can be replaced. He was big part of our MSU family and a big part of my own family.”
Falco participated in several on-campus events during which students could meet him and understand more about his training and what tasks he performed.
Upon hearing of Falco’s death, several students who had come to know him through their experiences at Montclair State took to social media to share their condolences and appreciation for all Falco had done for the campus community and beyond.
Alumnus Joseph Stanley Kurp posted a link to the press release discussing Falco’s death, adding his comment; “RIP K-9 Falco and thank you for all you did for the MSU Community with our Police Department over the last 7 years!! We’ll miss you!!!”
Another alumna, Margia Fonseca, wrote as a Facebook comment on the University’s Official Page, “God bless you Falco!! Thank you for helping to protect me and my classmates during my time at MSU, Class of 2009.”
Falco is survived by Max, another K9 under Comerro’s command with a specialization in drug detection.
The Montclarion staff would like to extend their condolences to Officer Comerro and his family and to thank Falco for all of his years of hard work and service serving the people of Montclair State University and beyond.