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VOL. 126 | NO. 247 | Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Fallen Police Memorial to be ‘Lasting Tribute’

By Aisling Maki

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Men and women in blue were joined by friends, family and supporters at the Oak Court Mall, 4465 Poplar Ave., Friday, Dec. 16, for the unveiling of the mockup of a Fallen Officer Memorial that will honor the Memphis Police Department officers who have given their lives in the line of duty.

Betsy Warren, wife of fallen MPD officer Timothy Warren, looks at a mockup of a Fallen Officer Memorial public statue during a ceremony at the Oak Court Mall last week. The approximately $1 million cost of the project will be 100 percent privately funded.
(Photo: Lance Murphey)

The monument, which will be placed in an outside, circular courtyard accessible from Poplar Avenue on land donated by mall owner Simon Property Group, will provide family and friends of officers a place to remember and honor their loved ones.

Deputy Memphis Police Chief Joe Scott told the crowd assembled for the unveiling that the memorial will be a “lasting tribute to the fallen and a show of support to the entire community.”

The monument, the vision of a retired MPD colonel, will feature a hero-size sculpture of two officers, male and female, presenting the flag of a fallen officer to a young child. Three large eagles, symbolizing freedom and protection, will encircle the monument. A fourth eagle will be noticeably absent, symbolizing the fallen hero.

Lyrics of the MPD hymn will be inscribed, along with the names of the officers who have died in the line of duty. Children and other family members will be able to create charcoal rubbings of the monument as a keepsake.

Betsy Warren, widow of fallen MPD officer Timothy Warren, who was killed in the line of duty in July, said she will “most certainly” visit the monument with her two young children, who are still having a difficult time dealing with their father’s death.

“It’s a moment-by-moment thing,” she said Friday. “We take it day by day. The community support is never-ending, and that’s why I turn around and I give it right back. This (memorial) is beautiful, and I couldn’t possibly give you enough words to describe how beautiful it is.”

Metro Construction has pulled together project details and design elements set forth by a committee to create a lasting memorial, similar to the one for fallen Memphis firefighters that’s housed at the Memphis Fire Museum, 118 Adams Ave.

“We’re the only city that doesn’t have something like this,” said Jeremy Park, communications director for Lipscomb Pitts Breakfast Club, which has been involved in promoting the memorial and encouraging Memphians to donate to its construction. “We have the Fire Museum for the firefighters, we have other monuments, but we don’t have anything for the police department. They came to us back in March, and we said, ‘Let’s do this.’ You don’t get many chances to kind of create something that’s a lasting legacy, a monument for Memphis.”

The public announcement of the project, originally scheduled for after the new year, was moved up after officers expressed they wanted to use their holiday bonuses to donate toward the memorial, budgeted at about $1 million. This unveiling of the mockup was designed to help bring the project to fruition and aid with fundraising efforts for the privately funded memorial.

It’s expected to take roughly 18 months to two years for the project to be completed, which will depend largely on public support.

“It’s a community project and will not come to life without the community,” Scott said.

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