• 72°

Groundbreaking today for Law Enforcement Memorial of southeast Minnesota 

The southeast Minnesota community is invited to a groundbreaking ceremony for the Law Enforcement Memorial of Southeast Minnesota at Soldiers Field Memorial Park in Rochester today, according to a press release.

The memorial honors the 33 fallen officers of the following municipal, state, federal and military agencies operating within Minnesota Sheriff’s Association’s Sixth District, which are the following counties: Rice, Steele, Freeborn, Mower, Dodge, Olmsted, Goodhue, Wabasha, Winona, Fillmore, Waseca, Le Sueur and Houston.

The program begins at 4:30 p.m. today at the memorial site (Seventh Street SW and George Gibbs Drive SW). It will include the following:

  • Music: Rochester Caledonian Pipe Band
  • Entrance of the Fallen Officer Flag Guardians: Various Southeast Minnesota agencies
  • Presentation of Colors: Multi-jurisdictional Honor Guard
  • National Anthem: Deputy Tracey Pagel, Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office
  • Blessing: Chaplain Roger Langworthy, Dodge County Sheriff’s Office
  • Groundbreaking Address: Sheriff Kevin Torgerson, Olmsted County Sheriff’s Office
  • Family Survivor Address: Randy Haley, son of Floyd Haley, Rochester PD; EOW: 8-6, 1967
  • Groundbreaking: Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation of Southeast Minnesota Board of Directors
  • Dismissal: Sheriff Kevin Torgerson
  • Music: Rochester Caledonian Pipe Band

“Reaching this point of finally breaking ground for our Memorial is an amazing feeling,” said Kevin Torgerson, Olmsted County sheriff and president of the Law Enforcement Memorial Foundation of Southeast Minnesota. “This truly has been a team effort, and I want to thank the communities of southeast Minnesota for helping make this a reality. The fundraising will never stop though because of the need to maintain it and unfortunately, likely add future names.”

Construction is scheduled to start Monday. Features of the memorial include a wall with a variety of etched law enforcement related pictures and references and a 15-foot pillar that will have a blue accent light and names of fallen officers.

There will be 21 sentinel evergreen trees lining the west hill overlooking the memorial. This number was chosen because of the traditional three volley salute consisting of seven riflemen and the three volleys, the 21 steps taken by the guards at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier as well as the 21 steps taken by the Minnesota LEMA Honor Guard at the State Memorial in St. Paul.

The pillar in the center of the Memorial will have five smooth sides and five rough sides. The number represents five branches of law enforcement: state, municipal, county, federal and military police. The smooth sides represent the start of a law enforcement career, and the rough sides represent how a law enforcement career takes a toll on officers.

There will also be a variety of plantings and intertwined pavers shaped into badges/shields that form a star (which represent the two most common badges). The pavers create the Memorial Foundation’s symbol which represents agencies coming together to remember fallen officers and a mourning band traditionally worn across a badge when an officer has fallen.

Renderings of the Law Enforcement Memorial can be found on the Foundation’s website: lawenforcementmemorial.org. Information on donating online or mailing a donation can be found on the website as well.