By Ed Jacques, LEJ Editor
On October 18, 2006, Michigan took the initial step toward insuring that the service and sacrifice of all fallen officers in Michigan will be honored forever. Governor Jennifer Granholm, U.S. Senator John Kerry and hundreds of others in attendance dedicated the site of the future Memorial that will enshrine every Michigan law enforcement officer who died in the line of duty. The Memorial site is located within the Michigan Capitol Park, at the corner of Allegan Street and Butler Boulevard, and directly south of the Vietnam Memorial, near the State Capitol in Lansing.
The winning design for the Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Monument was unveiled at a press conference in Lansing on February 8, 2007. Attorney General Mike Cox spoke at the event and took the opportunity to remember some of the police officers that had assisted in his Department investigations whose names will be inscribed. Former State Representative Larry Julian who sponsored the legislation for the Memorial Commission in 2004, said “this Memorial will serve for eternity, the memory of those who gave the ultimate sacrifice for the safety of each of us, our families and our great State.”
Architect David Milling of Ann Arbor was called upon to present his winning design, called “Sentinel.” It is composed of 21 sentinels, each 4’x 8′ glass panels engraved with the names of fallen officers standing vigil over the memories of those lost. The panels march from west to east and will be lit from below. The transparency of the panels provides a sense of strength and stability due to their scale and allow for the security and visibility of the site. Mr. Milling donated his first prize check back to the Memorial Commission.
The Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Monument Fund Commission was created by Public Act 177 in 2004. The Commission includes survivors of law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty, a police chaplain and representatives from the Attorney General and State Treasurer’s Office. The Commission oversees the financing, design and construction of the Memorial Monument.
However, the anticipated goal of a groundbreaking in 2008 is out of the question. In fact, the fundraising campaign is way behind in its expected revenues due in large part to Michigan’s poor economy and a lack of large corporate donors. The Commission is considering hiring a professional fundraising consultant to jumpstart the initiative. The estimated cost of the Memorial and Monument is approximately four million dollars.
There are over 530 names waiting to be etched in glass and just as many families eager to see their loved one’s sacrifice recognized forever. For more information on the Memorial and how to donate, go to www.mleom.org.