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Officers’ memorial to break ground

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    This model portrays the memorial to police officers killed in the line of duty, to be built on the Diamond Head side of the Kalanimoku Building off Punchbowl Street.

This year’s Police Week will be especially sweet for the board members of the Hawaii Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation.

Gov. Neil Abercrombie and other leaders will help the foundation break ground tomorrow on the long-awaited memorial dedicated to Hawaii law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty. The ceremony takes place at 2 p.m. at the site, on the Diamond Head side of the Kalanimoku Building, 1151 Punchbowl St.

Abercrombie last month signed House Bill 1622, which directs that the memorial be build on Capitol District grounds. Hawaii is one of the few states without a statewide law enforcement memorial.

"It’s a huge day for all in the law enforcement community in the state of Hawaii, as well as the families of the fallen officers," said Thomas Aiu, a foundation spokesman.

Renderings of the memorial’s design will be unveiled for the first time during tomorrow’s ceremony.

The design was one of 50 submitted last fall by teams of students from the University of Hawaii’s School of Architecture. The winning design was selected from among three finalists at a fundraiser for the memorial held in December that was attended by 1,000 people.

Though a project site is secured, the foundation has been tasked with coming up with the funding to build the memorial. The project is expected to cost about $1 million, Aiu said.

The fundraiser grossed about $200,000, but netted only about half that amount after expenses, Aiu said.

"When we get halfway (to the $1 million needed), we’re going to start," he said. The group’s goal is for construction to begin sometime in 2012.

Aiu said the memorial’s design allows it to blend in smoothly with the existing landscape of the mall, which also features the Honolulu Hale complex on the makai, South King Street side of the block. Walkways on the two sides of the 50-by-50-foot memorial will lead to a wall that will feature the names of the 60 officers statewide who have lost their lives while on duty, he said.

Since 1903, 42 Honolulu police officers have been killed in the line of duty, HPD said.

"The memorial will be a visual tribute to those who made the ultimate sacrifice, their families, and the men and women today sworn to protect and serve the community," Aiu said.

The city will kick off Police Week tomorrow with a ceremony led by Mayor Peter Carlisle at Ala Moana Centerstage at 10 a.m. The Royal Hawaiian Band will also perform.

At 6 p.m., HPD officers and families of the fallen officers will march from HPD headquarters on Alapai Street to the state Capitol courtyard. A candlelight vigil and memorial service will take place there at 6:30 p.m.

Today, meanwhile, Abercrombie has ordered that all Hawaii flags at state offices and agencies are to be flown at half-staff in observance of Peace Officers Memorial Day and Police Week.

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