The Raleigh Police Memorial, which will be unveiled in front of City Hall on Friday, was conceived in 2009, when a group of Raleigh officers rode from Chesapeake, Va., to Washington, D.C., in a charity bike ride.
“We would ride through small towns and see police memorials for fallen officers,” said retired Raleigh police Maj. Dennis Lane. “While we were pedaling, we talked about how it was a disservice to our police officers and their families to not have a police memorial in our city. We decide to make it happen.”
The biking group, known as Team Raleigh, established the Raleigh Police Memorial Foundation, with Lane as its president, and, with the city’s blessing, solicited donations for a memorial to Raleigh’s fallen officers. They persuaded the city to construct it in front of City Hall and began a nationwide search for a landscape architecture firm to build it.
Eight Raleigh officers have lost their lives in the line of duty, starting with Tom G. Crabtree, who was killed when he responded to a gas station robbery on Sept. 1, 1922. Three died of gunshots. The others died in motor vehicle wrecks. Charles Radford Paul III, who was killed in 2002 when he lost control of his motorcycle while trying to catch up with a speeding car on the Beltline, is the most recent fatality.
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“These eight officers – and God forbid we lose any more in the future – it’s important to remember their sacrifice,” Lane said. “It’s also about honoring their families, who are still out there and still suffering.”
The $500,000 memorial, designed by Thomas Sayre of the Raleigh firm Clearscapes, features 21 granite columns at one end of a 64-foot-long water table and a single column at the opposite end, bearing the names of the eight officers. The table, which will reflect the sky, will have eight holes representing each fallen officer. The holes will be lit from below at night.
Friday evening’s dedication ceremony will include a candlelight vigil. The other Team Raleigh members who lead the foundation – Raleigh police Capt. Kim Swinson, Sgt. Jim Dunn, Maj. Debbie Regentin and retired detective Randy Miller – will be on hand, as will family members of the fallen officers.
“It’s great when you see such an important project come to completion,” Lane said. “The entire group of us, we all feel great and a sense of accomplishment, remembering these officers and honoring their families.”