2018-08-30 / Front Page

Police Memorial to Break Ground

By Christopher Allen

The above rendering shows the placement of the proposed memorial at the entrance of the Middletown Police Department. (Rendering by Kristen Lombardi) The above rendering shows the placement of the proposed memorial at the entrance of the Middletown Police Department. (Rendering by Kristen Lombardi) The controversial saga of the redesign of the memorial in front of the Middletown police station honoring officers who lost their lives in the line of duty took a positive step forward after a proposed design was agreed upon by the police department and the Middletown Town Council.

“We are ready to go; the contractors are ready to start immediately,” said Middletown Chief of Police Anthony Pesare.

Earlier in the year, after the memorial leading up to the entrance of the Middletown police station on Valley Road had fallen into disrepair and became a liability, conflict arose between the Town Council and police department about how to remedy the matter. The walkway had become dangerously slick when wet and had to be cordoned off.

After initially approving $41,400 to redo the walkway, the Town Council reversed course and voted to remove it.

However, a gift from the private sector helped put the matter to rest. The police department and town accepted a $40,000 pledge in May from the Clambake Club of Newport to fund a new memorial. In addition, all of the contractors who have been hired for the project have donated labor or materials. The current estimated cost of the project is $25,000.

Toner Electric of Middletown has pledged the labor and materials for the lighting of the memorial. Ryan Hogan of Warren Monuments, who will be providing the stone structures, has donated a monument. The cement work will be performed by the DiNoble Corp. of Providence, which has pledged a portion of the labor to the effort.

According to Pesare, the new design was the result of work performed by a committee of Middletown police officers and department employees.

During a presentation at the Aug. 20 Town Council meeting, Pesare unveiled a digital rendition of the memorial, which will feature three separate squared stones, two of which will be set at an angle surrounding the third. The middle stone will be inscribed with the words “Dedicated to all law enforcement officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the line of duty.”

Under this message will be the name of Capt. Frank Lema, a retired Middletown police detective who was killed in a 2013 car crash while working as a detective at Naval Station Newport.

“God willing there won’t ever be another name on there,” said Pesare.

The remaining two stones will feature a kneeling police officer holding an American flag through which will run a thin blue line and the National Law Enforcement Memorial symbol, respectively.

Middletown Town Council President Robert Sylvia praised the plan. “What a great design. What a tribute to not only the national memorial, but also a personal memorial,” he said. “I had the pleasure of working with Captain Lema my entire career [in law enforcement]... it brings a personal touch and uniqueness.”

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