About the Author
Mike Kanin is the Publisher of the Austin Monitor. As such, he doesn't report on much--aside from the workings of the Monitor--any more. In his previous life as a freelance journalist, Kanin has written for the Washington City Paper, the Washington Post's Express, the Boston Herald, Boston's Weekly Dig, the Austin Chronicle, and the Texas Observer.
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City Council to consider memorial to APD officers
The Austin City Council will consider a resolution today allowing the placement of memorials to fallen Austin Police Department (APD) officers, an effort known as the Austin Police Officer Memorial Project, at the site where the officers fell. If Council approves the resolution as expected, portions of the resolution will still be subject to review by the Planning Commission.
Some citizens, however, are concerned that the aesthetics of the project have received no public review.
According to Council documents, the memorials are “5 feet 4 inches tall, 20 inches wide and 6 inches thick and constructed of gray granite.” The plan that Council members will see calls for the eventual installation of 19 memorials in various locations across the city: Three memorials will be placed at the main police station, two will be placed in Texas Department of Transportation (TxDOT) rights of way, and 12 will be placed in
Rockdale Memorials plans to donate the markers.
Because some of the markers will be placed in
APD officer Jason Huskins, who called Rockdale Memorials after learning about his fallen colleagues while attending the police academy, started the Austin Police Department Memorial Project. According to a press release that accompanied the memorials’ unveiling this past November, “(t)his project was conceived as an effort to remind the citizens of Austin of the ultimate sacrifice made by Austin Police Officers in the name of public safety, security and well-being. The Memorials will contribute historical value and serve as a place for family and friends to remember their fallen Officers.”
Ann Graham, who served on
Graham went on to express her desire that the design of the memorial project be properly and publicly vetted. It is important, she said, that such projects are completed with “great thought and dialogue.” A spokesperson for AIPP said that the panel had not yet been involved with the memorials.
“I can certainly understand people’s inclination to be able to comment on art in our public spaces, and I think that is something we can consider moving forward,” said Mayor Pro Tem Mike Martinez, a co-sponsor of the resolution. “I think for this initial round of markers, we should honor all of the hard work this officer put in on his own time and accept this initial donation.”
“Honestly,” he added, “never having to have the discussion about the aesthetics of these markers would be okay with me if that meant we didn’t lose any other officers in the line of duty. “
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