Crime & Courts

Law memorial's finish delayed; dedication expected this fall

Unexpected delays have pushed back the completion date for the Law Enforcement Memorial of Sedgwick County, meaning the formal dedication won't likely happen until this fall.

"We've been careful not to push anybody to rush on the thing," said Wichita police Capt. Randy Landen, who has been shepherding the effort. "We tell them to just take their time and do the best job they can.

"Everyone's done an outstanding job on each piece of the memorial so far."

The memorial honors the 29 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in Sedgwick County, from Deputy Sheriff Carlos King in 1871 to Deputy Brian Etheridge late last September.

The site will include a reflection area featuring personalized plaques honoring the fallen officers and bronzed boots copied from footwear used by the officers or shoes consistent with what officers wore at the time.

The bronzed footwear is ready to go, said artist and sculpture Connie Ernatt, who has worked on a variety of components for the memorial.

"It's really powerful" to see all the shoes together, she said.

They add a personal touch to the memorial that's almost haunting, Landen said.

Construction of the memorial has been delayed by rain and the slower-than-anticipated forging of a granite badge that will be inlayed in the grounds of the memorial next to City Hall, he said.

Once it arrives in a few weeks, he said, installation will be "a fairly lengthy process, because it comes as a big jigsaw puzzle.

"The company has laid this thing out to make sure it fits together," Landen said. "We're appreciative of that kind of attention to detail, but it does slow things down for us."

No completion date has been set, he said, but it's realistic to expect a dedication this fall.

"We'll probably let the weather cool down for a dedication," he said.