Mayor Bill Finch and City officials will join Police Union representatives to break ground on Phase I of the planned Police Officers Memorial to be located on the median across from Bridgeport Police Headquarters.
The ceremony will take place Monday, May 30 at 11 a.m.
“When I became union president in 2009, Officer Brian Pisanelli brought these nearly 10-year-old plans for a memorial to my attention. Since then, I’ve made it my mission as president not to let another 10 years go by before we honor our fallen brothers,” said Sgt. Charles Paris, Local 1159 president. Paris and Pisanelli, along with other police union members, working together with the City Council and the Mayor’s office, then put together a plan to move the memorial construction forward.
“Our police officers put their lives on the line for everyone in the City every hour they are on the job. This memorial will be a fitting tribute to those who have given their life in service to the City,” said Mayor Finch.
Eight City police officers have died in the line of duty. The last was Officer Gerald Di Joseph, 33, who was shot during a traffic stop on James Street in November 1980. His wife and children are scheduled to attend Monday’s event.
The Mayor and the City Council have agreed to split the cost of the memorial with the Union, which has embarked on a fund-raising campaign to cover their half of the costs.
Since last fall, the union has held a car show and a golf tournament, and is selling commemorative T-shirts, tank tops and hats to augment planned fundraising events. In addition, a benefit concert with BandTogether is planned for June 24 at the Klein Memorial Auditorium. So far, they have raised $25,000 toward their goal, according to Officer Brian Pisanelli, co-chair of the Union’s effort. The union also is selling commemorative bricks to help defray construction costs. A 4 X 8-inch brick can be purchased for $50, while 8X8-inch bricks are being sold for $100.
The memorial will be constructed on the median between City Hall and Police Headquarters. Plans call for an “End of Watch” wall containing the names of deceased police officers, as well as a depiction of the City’s police officer badge etched into the granite at the center of the median. The entire project is expected to cost a little over $400,000; the first phase includes all underground electrical work and installation of water lines and footings.
For more information, to purchase an item, or to make a donation, the public can call 203.581.5131. Donation checks should be made payable to the B.R.B.F., and mailed to Bridgeport Police Union 1159, P.O. Box 882, Bridgeport CT 06604. Or, for more information log on to www.bridgeportpoliceunion.com