A more fitting tribute in Towson Baltimore County: Plan for a new police memorial deserves support.

March 19, 1996

STANDING TALL may be fine praise for a police officer but it's not necessarily true for the design of a memorial to officers killed in the line of duty. The towering black monolith honoring Baltimore County policemen that has stood at the intersection of Joppa Road and Goucher Boulevard in Towson for 20 years is a good example.

Inaccessible, inappropriate, unattractive these are some of the adjectives frequently applied to the monument that was erected in 1975. Flanked by U.S. and Maryland flags, the massive structure is imposing, yet its purpose as a memorial is largely ignored by cars whizzing by the busy intersection. There is limited access for pedestrians to reach the memorial, which sits at the foot of a grassy rise outside a shopping center restraining wall. Community leaders have lobbied for more attractive landscaping of the plot as a neighborhood gateway.

It's not that people object to the idea of a tribute to the county police force and to the four fallen officers cited on the monument. That's why there is solid support to build a new memorial in the plaza between the old and new courthouses in the center of the county seat.

The new gray granite structure would be low-lying and readily accessible to pedestrians, an appropriate balance to the county firefighters' memorial on the other side of plaza. It would also fit in with the Vietnam veterans memorial that is being built in another corner of that Towson government complex. Certainly, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial in Washington has powerfully demonstrated to all the catharsis such creations can achieve.

The police department notes that the setting for memorial services held at the monument will be more reverent than at the current location, and that public recognition of the memorial will be enhanced.

The new monument will cost about $80,000, none of it from taxpayer funds. A committee of police, business and community representatives has raised most of the money required and is seeking further contributions. The existing monument will be dismantled eventually and the corner site will be landscaped for the neighborhood. In Courthouse Plaza, the new monument will provide a fitting memorial in a prominent location that can be appreciated more fully by a grateful community.

Pub Date: 3/19/96

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