Few cops anywhere were as tough and dedicated as Miami-Dade Police Officer Rocco.
He took a bullet from a burglary suspect during a 2008 shootout — and was back on the job a month later.
But on Thursday, Canine Officer Rocco, a 9-year-old Belgian Malinois, lost his last fight — with prostate cancer.
Miami-Dade Det. Roy Rutland said Rocco was humanely euthanized.
A tribute on the department’s website said Rocco joined the department as a 2-year-old in February 2006, and worked seven years with his handler, Off. Andy Giordani, who was “too distraught’’ to talk, Rutland said.
“During his career, Rocco apprehended 72 subjects and conducted approximately 670 searches,’’ the Facebook tribute reads. “Of the 72 subjects apprehended, one subject shot at Officer Giordani, striking the back-up officer and Canine Rocco. After medical treatment and weeks of therapy, Canine Rocco returned to work and remained an elite member of the Canine Unit with no lingering effects of the shooting.
“Canine Rocco was cross-trained for explosive detection and conducted approximately 280 searches, five article searches, and 102 public demonstrations. He will be greatly missed by his extended police family.’’
Rocco was shot in May 2008, along with a human colleague, as cops tracked two teenagers trying to burglarize homes near North Miami Beach.
One had a gun, the other a crowbar. During a chase, Giovanni Thermidor, 18, opened fire, hitting Off. David Carrero and Rocco, who sustained a wound in what a commendation report called “the fleshy area by his right front leg.’’
One month later, Rocco was back on the street, and caught another burglar — who wasn’t wearing pants.
“I was very proud of him,” Giordani told The Miami Herald. “Quite impressed. He showed no hesitation in any way.”