With local police watching closely, workers on April 14 erected the state's official memorial to fallen law enforcement officers.
Delaware no longer is the only state without a monument to its fallen law enforcement officers.
With William Penn Street in Dover blocked off by barricades the morning of April 14, workers began assembling the state’s official Law Enforcement Officers Memorial on the south side of Legislative Mall.
The site was dedicated in a moving ceremony Sept. 16, with a number of relatives of the officers whose names are inscribed on the wall, were in attendance.
“This is excellent,” said Dover Police Cpl. Mick Konnick as he watched workers move pieces of the monument into place after it was trucked down from Vermont.
“We’ve needed something like this in Dover,” Konnick added. “It gives a true representation of what we’re about and what we do.”
New Castle city Chief of Police Kevin P. McDerby, who spearheaded the undertaking, said it has been in the works for several years. Only recently, however, did the project gather steam. The General Assembly passed a joint resolution approving the memorial and setting aside the site early in 2009, and Gov. Jack Markell signed the bill the same day it was approved.
“To be allowed to use this land is a fitting example of how the legislature and the governor feel about these officers,” McDerby said at the time. The project also had the support of the Fraternal Order of Police, the Delaware Police Chiefs’ Council, the Delaware Police Chiefs’ Foundation and the Delaware State Troopers Association.
The 14.5-ton memorial consists of three slabs of black granite, cut in India, then shipped to Vermont for etching and polishing. The vertical center section includes the Great Seal of the State of Delaware and a shield and rose, which also is inscribed on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, D.C.
Below this is a quote attributed to the Roman historian Publicus Cornelius Tacitus, “In valor, there is hope.”
Flanking the center are two horizontal pieces, upon which are inscribed the names of the 36 Delaware law enforcement officers known to have died in the line of duty since 1863. The name of Georgetown patrolman Chad Spicer, who was shot to death in September 2009, is the most recent.
The centerpiece is a life size bronze statue of an officer, dubbed “Call to Duty,” which faces the granite wall, kneeling in grief-stricken reflection. Sculpted by Neil Brodin of Brodin Studios, Litchfield, Minn., the figure weighs about 600 pounds and was welded together from about 30 separately molded pieces.
“It’s a natural pose,” Brodin said. “A man will naturally kneel down, and if he’s holding a flag or his hat, he’ll put his other hand to his forehead. It shows a man who is capable and respectful.”
The officer’s uniform includes a generic Delaware law enforcement shoulder patch, representing all officers in the First State.
A total of $260,000 was raised to pay for the monument, which eventually will include brick pavers, flagpoles and lighting, McDerby said. That sum also includes funds to pay for care and maintenance of the memorial. In a somewhat unique twist, some of the money raised for the monument comes from property and assets seized during criminal investigations; the remainder was provided through private and corporate donors, he said.
A formal dedication of the completed monument will be held at 6:30 p.m. Monday, May 3.
Email Jeff Brown at email@example.com.