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Police Memorial Brings Raleigh In Line With Other Major Cities

Raleigh Police Memorial
Dennis Lane
Raleigh Police Memorial Foundation

In 2009, Major Dennis Lane and other police officers road their bicycles from Raleigh to Washington D.C., in honor of officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty.  They stopped at various cities along the route. And they noticed something different between these cities and Raleigh; Many of them had memorials erected in honor of fallen officers.

"Of the 50 largest cities in the country, there were only two cities that did not have a police memorial of some sort; Raleigh and Indianapolis, " said Lane.

That number is about to change. On Tuesday, the Raleigh Police Memorial Foundation, led by Lane, will break ground on  a $500,000 project to honor those who lost their lives serving the city.

The memorial will replace a fountain currently outside the city government complex on Hargett Street.

Raleigh Police Memorial, aerial
Credit Dennis Lane / Raleigh Police Memorial Foundation
Raleigh Police Memorial Foundation
An artist rendering from above of the proposed Raleigh Police memorial.

"We've had eight officers die in Raleigh in the line of duty - seven men and one woman," said Lane. "And this will be a memorial to honor and remember those eight officers. And, God forbid, if we ever lose any officers in the future in Raleigh, it will also honor and remember those officers."

The memorial is about the size of three bowling lanes, side-by-side. 21 granite columns stand on one end of the memorial. A 64-foot water table comes out from the columns, "and there are eight voids in the water table that will shine light up into the sky," said Lane.  "Then we have the memorial column that will have the eight officer's names in it."

Raleigh Police Memorial, Ground
Credit Dennis Lane / Raleigh Police Memorial Foundation
Raleigh Police Memorial Foundation
A ground view of the new memorial.

Raleigh-based firm Clearscapes is responsible for the design. Thomas Sayer led the design team. He said the look is meant to be a more sober celebration of the officers' service, than a place to mourn their loss.

"We were not interested in dwelling on the tragedy," said Sayer. Other memorials are treated like grave sites, he said. " There are eight gravesites elsewhere" for the officers, he said.  Sayers said he spoke with family members of some of the fallen officers for input.

The final revealing of the memorial wont happen until April of 2014.  The Raleigh Police Memorial Foundation still needs to raise about $20,000 to finish the project. The space was granted to the group by the city.

Eric Mennel prepares the afternoon/evening "drive time" newscast on WUNC. Previously, he was a producer for The Story with Dick Gordon. Eric has reported for All Things Considered, This American Life, 99% Invisible and other radio programs. He covered protests and security measures at the 2012 Republican National Convention for WUSF Tampa and NPR News. One day, he hopes to own a home with a wrap-around porch.
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