The Southeast Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial is one step closer to being built as the Rochester Park Board unanimously approved a motion earlier this week to authorize the Mayor and City Clerk to execute an agreement with the foundation.
"It’s been a lot of work and its huge relief," Sheriff Kevin Torgerson said Wednesday afternoon.
Torgerson, who serves as the president of the Southeast Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation's board, has been one of the lead organizers for nearly a decade. The conversation to build a Law Enforcement Memorial began at least a decade ago and the group became a nonprofit in 2012.
While some communities in the region have small memorials honoring their fallen members of the law enforcement community, there is no central memorial for the region.
"This is a way to bring everyone together, in one place in public," Torgerson said.
The memorial will honor all five branches of law enforcement -- municipal, county, state and federal as well as military law enforcement. The wall will likely be engraved with 33 names, including two fallen law enforcement officers who were recently discovered by a student doing a research paper about law enforcement, according to Torgerson.
With construction scheduled to start this spring, the foundation is about halfway to its $500,000 fundraising goal. The initial cost estimate for the memorial was $400,000 but an increase in granite prices caused the project cost to grow, according to Torgerson.
Taxpayers aren't funding the project; private donations will pay for the memorial's construction.
The construction of the memorial is expected to be done in at least two phases and be completed within 30 months. A date for the groundbreaking has not been scheduled.
Torgerson said a request for a building permit was filed with the city on Wednesday and he hopes to have the permit in hand by the beginning of May.
Once built, the only taxpayer involvement will be related to Sentence-To-Serve workers who do things like snow removal at Soldiers Field and other area parks.