New memorial, plaza planned to honor police officers killed in the line of duty FOP launches drive to raise $2.2 million

December 11, 1997|By Peter Hermann | Peter Hermann,SUN STAFF

A police group unveiled plans yesterday for a $2.2 million memorial and plaza to honor city officers slain in the line of duty that will include Doric pillars, granite walls and a shaded promenade for public gatherings.

The 30,000-square-foot memorial and plaza, expected to be completed in spring 1999, is to be built on city-owned land at East Fayette and North President streets at Shot Tower Park, across from the downtown police headquarters building.

Fraternal Order of Police Lodge 3 is launching a fund-raising drive for private and corporate sponsors. Mayor Kurt L. Schmoke pledged $50,000 in city funds to get the project started.

"Police officers have lost their lives on streets, in alleys and on the doorsteps of this city," said Karen Adolfo, whose husband, Officer Vincent J. Adolfo, was killed in 1985. In July, she watched her husband's killer be executed by lethal injection.

"When someone you love becomes a memory, that memory becomes a treasure," Adolfo, who became a widow at age 21, told a City Hall gathering yesterday. "Now Baltimore will have its own memory, its own treasure."

Adolfo was one of 97 Baltimore police officers killed since 1870. The most recent was Lt. Owen Eugene Sweeney Jr., who was killed in May by a shotgun blast from behind a closed door.

Officer Gary McLhinney, the FOP president, called yesterday's unveiling of plans for the memorial a "sad and joyous occasion."

"We are finally giving the recognition these families so richly deserve," he said.

Police Commissioner Thomas C. Frazier said that an officer's "call to service carries with it a solemn understanding that we put our lives at risk. This will be a sacred place."

The plaza is to be built on the site of the existing city police memorial, which is a small granite wall that faces away from the streets and was built in 1978 after 13 officers were killed in five years.

The new memorial was designed by Davis Buckley, an award-winning Washington architectural firm that has also designed the National Japanese-American Memorial and the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

Thomas J. Striegel, the company's vice president, said the memorial is designed to "symbolize the protection the Police Department provides to the citizens of Baltimore."

It features sweeping curved entry walls to guide visitors up steps and between a pair of flagpoles and into a circular plaza. Set back in a semicircle are parallel rows of 10 Doric columns representing the nine city police districts and police headquarters.

At the top of the colonnade is a sculpture of an eagle holding a city police badge. At the edge of the plaza is a tapered granite wall engraved with the names of the slain officers and the years they died.

The perimeter of the site slopes up to the plaza and is landscaped with shade trees, shrubbery and ground cover. It is designed to be viewed from the street as a classical colonnade and from the central plaza as a public gathering place.

"When one is within the colonnade," Striegel said, "it forms a precinct for contemplation within which survivors, colleagues and visitors can view the names of Baltimore's fallen heroes and be reminded of the ultimate sacrifice these officers made."

Pub Date: 12/11/97

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