On Wednesday, Nov. 22, the signs for the Police Officer Scott A. Wertz Memorial Bridge were unveiled, and a ceremony was held at the Miller Center for the Arts to honor the late police officer.
Wertz dedicated 20 years of his life to public service and law enforcement. A lifelong Berks County resident, he graduated from Wilson High School in 1984. Wertz worked for six years as a correctional officer at the Berks County prison. He joined the Reading Police Department in 1997, serving as a member of the patrol division, a field training officer, and in a special detail in the criminal investigations division as part of the auto theft task force. On Aug. 6, 2006, Wertz died in the line of duty while responding with his partner to a call to assist his fellow officers who were attempting to break up a fight.
Earlier this year, Sen. Judy Schwank (D-Berks) issued a co-sponsor memorandum in the Pennsylvania Senate to name the Penn Street Bridge in honor of Wertz. The language sponsored by Schwank was then amended in SB 621. The bill passed both chambers in October and was signed into law by Gov. Josh Shapiro on Oct. 23, 2023.
At the event, Schwank said she was proud to support the measure and said this honor was long overdue.
“The Penn Street Bridge, for decades, has been the gateway into the City of Reading and an iconic structure known to all who call Berks County home,” Schwank said. “I believe naming this bridge in honor of Officer Wertz is a fitting way to honor a man who served his community with pride and distinction.”
Tricia Wertz, Officer Wertz’s widow, spoke at the ceremony and later unveiled the sign. She said her husband loved the City of Reading, and it was his dream to serve the city he grew up in as a police officer.
“I can’t speak much about how Scott was as a cop, but I know he wanted to put the bad guys away and protect the good ones,” Wertz said. “He always treated the good people the way they deserved to be treated. He definitely had an impact on all of the lives he touched and on the city he loved so dearly. He is a hero, and we miss him.”
Berks County District Attorney John Adams, City of Reading Mayor Eddie Moran, Reading Police Head Chaplain Nicholas Camacho, and Criminal Investigator Chris Jenkins also spoke at the ceremony. Dave Bray performed the National Anthem and his original song “Survivor.”
A recording of the ceremony can be found here.