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Memorial for fallen officers resurrected on North Shore

Saturday, May 17, 2003

By Michael A. Fuoco, Post-Gazette Staff Writer

The Law Enforcement Officers Memorial of Allegheny County will be rededicated at a ceremony on the North Shore at 10 a.m. today, nearly three years after it was dismantled and put in storage because of Heinz Field construction.

At the center of the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial of Allegheny County on the North Side, a statue of a police officer stands watch over the city. The memorial, devoted to officers who have died in the line of duty, will be rededicated today after being dismantled to make way for stadium construction. (Steve Mellon, Post-Gazette)

Pennsylvania Attorney General Mike Fisher will be the keynote speaker at the event, which will include the reading of the names of 108 law enforcement officers listed on the memorial who died in the line of duty.

The memorial to fallen police and other law enforcement officers, initially dedicated in September 1996, was formerly nestled in a grove between Three Rivers Stadium and the Carnegie Science Center. It now is situated at Art Rooney Boulevard and North Shore Drive, about 500 feet away from its former location.

The new site, part of the Great Lawn, is on higher ground, making it more visible to passers-by, and is larger, allowing for some enhancements, said Bill Burke, secretary of the memorial group and a retired Pittsburgh police sergeant.

A pedestrian strolls through the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial of Allegheny County on the North Side. (Steve Mellon, Post-Gazette)

Like before, the memorial includes a life-size bronze statue of a police officer, titled "Ever Watchful," that looks over the city skyline, and two granite benches. The memorial also includes a 48-inch-high, 7-foot-long black granite wall with the names of the fallen officers.

The first officer listed is city policeman John Benjamin Evans, who was shot with his own gun after an armed robbery on Water Street in Pittsburgh on Aug. 4, 1885. The most recent name added to the wall is state Trooper Todd Kelly, 43, who was fatally struck by a car on Nov. 7, 2001, as he was removing a large piece of metal from Interstate 79 in Robinson.

As in the past, there are flagpoles flying the flags of the United States, the city and the Law Enforcement Officers Memorial. The added room permitted the installation of two additional flagpoles for the county and state flags.

Also new is an 18-inch-high, 35-foot-long illuminated wall that has the memorial's name on the river side and plaques on the memorial side of natives who died in the line of duty as officers of jurisdictions outside the county.

A white light illuminates the statue, another one the memorial and a blue light symbolizes the profession.

Michael A. Fuoco can be reached at mfuoco@post-gazette.com or 412-263-1968.

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