by Peter Bodley
A planned monument to recognize Coon Rapids Police Department officers and staff – past, present and future – has received a financial boost from the Coon Rapids Arts Commission.
The commission has donated $2,400 to the Coon Rapids Crime Prevention Association, which is sponsoring the monument project.
The monument will be a bronze statue, titled The Protector, comprising a police officer holding the hand of a young child and will be placed at the entrance to the police department, which is located at the Coon Rapids Civic Center.
According to Mary Ann Kehn, arts commission chairperson, part of the arts commission’s mission is to promote art in the community – both performance and fine arts.
Last fall, the commission donated money to the Coon Rapids Fire Department to help pay for the 9/11 firefighters’ memorial outside Fire Station 1 on Egret Boulevard, Kehn said.
The memorial was dedicated at a ceremony on the 10th anniversary of 9/11 Sept. 11, 2011.
Now, the arts commission wants to help the police monument become a reality, Kehn said.
Retired Coon Rapids Police Chief Steve Wells is spearheading the police monument project.
The statue will be created by Brodin Studios in Litchfield, Wells said.
“The wheels are in motion and I hope the project will be completed this year,” he said.
When completed the statue will be four feet high and be placed on a concrete stand made of bricks which will be three feet tall.
The bricks are being sold as part of the fund-raising Buy-A-Brick campaign for the project which is open to the public.
Individuals, groups or businesses can purchase a $100 or $250 brick.
The purchased bricks can be inscribed with the donor’s name, someone they else they wish to recognize or in remembrance of a loved one.
A $100 donation will pay for a single brick, 4 by 8 inches in size and can contain three lines of 20 characters.
A contribution of $250 will buy a double brick, 8 by 8 inches in size, which can have six lines of 20 characters.
All brick contributions are tax deductible.
People who do not want to buy a brick can still make a financial contribution of any amount and also receive a receipt for tax purposes.
According to Wells, similar monuments recognizing police officers can be found all over the country, including the Anoka County Sheriff’s Office and at the Anoka and Columbia Heights police departments in Anoka County.
When the Columbia Heights Police Department was fund-raising a couple of years ago for its monument by selling bricks for the stand on which the statue is placed, he purchased a brick and had the name of his new granddaughter inscribed on it, Wells said.
It was at that time that he thought that it would be a good idea to recognize officers and staff of the Coon Rapids Police Department in the same way, he said.
“It will honor all those who work there,” Wells said.
According to Wells, the estimated cost of the bronze statue is $25,000, but he has lined up volunteers to do the labor and provide the materials for the base of donated bricks.
In addition, Wells said he has received donations from private individuals and is working on other individual sources for donations.
The Coon Rapids Crime Prevention Association has made a $5,000 contribution to the project.
The association, founded in 1990 by some members of the Coon Rapids Rotary Club, is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to provide increased resources to the police department to prevent, deter and fight crime in Coon Rapids.
The association pays for special equipment for the police department, not provided in the city budget; special programs, for example the Police Citizens Academy; and reward money.
Most recently, the association purchased two pieces of surveillance equipment for police department investigators.
To receive a Buy-A-Brick order form, contact Coon Rapids Police Capt. Cary Parks by e-mail at [email protected] or call 763-767-6504.
Peter Bodley is at [email protected]