Major donors contributed most of $500,000 sought to expand and upgrade the memorial to slain Kansas law enforcement officers on the Statehouse grounds, officials said Monday.
Attorney General Derek Schmidt said donors pledged $425,000 to build an outer ring around the memorial containing names of 281 law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty while in service to the state. Additional lighting, numbering of each honorary panel and other modifications to the site are planned.
“Law enforcement is essential work, but it is dangerous work. From time to time, the danger does catch up with officers,” Schmidt said. “Unfortunately, the memorial is nearing being full.”
Schmidt said the state had lost 10 officers since he took office as attorney general in 2011. He expects three, perhaps more, names will be added to the memorial at the annual ceremony in May.
A new website dedicated to the Kansas Law Enforcement Memorial was launched to accept donations for the project and to provide access to biographies of each officer whose name has been enshrined in stone. The mobile-friendly website will assist memorial visitors in locating the names of specific officers.
Gov. Jeff Colyer said honoring the dedication of law enforcement officers was a bipartisan duty. He said the history of slain officers must be remembered.
“There is nothing that we can do to pay back their sacrifice,” he said.
The Kansas Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation urged law enforcement agencies in Kansas, which employ about 8,000 officers, to contribute $10 per officer toward the project.
“This is a glass half-full, half-empty event,” said Mark Bruce, superintendent of the Kansas Highway Patrol. “Our collective hearts cringe at the thought of making more room for names of officers killed in the line of duty. By doing so, we pledge to permanently recognize the magnitude of the price they paid.”