Ontario Police Department Installs City Hall Memorial

  • 6/16/2017 5:08:40 PM
  • Jesse Smith
  • Local News

ONTARIO, OH - The City of Ontario has installed a Police Memorial in front of City Hall, honoring the area's fallen officers.

The project was spearheaded by former Police Chief Rod Smith.

"It's been a desire and a dream for me to be able to provide something like this to the men and women who work here," Smith said. "You'll notice that there are two stones here. One is to recognize law enforcement - the men and women who are currently working and doing the job on an everyday basis, and the other is a memorialized stone for those who have lost their lives in the line of duty. Although we have not experienced a line-of-duty death, we are also here to support those who have across the country. You will see several of the inscriptions on both of these markers have things that not only represent the Ontario Police Department but police departments outside of ours, so law enforcement in general."

The former Police Chief also spoke about some of the difficulties in getting the project started and the hurdles involved with making something like this happen.

"For me, one of the challenges for this was the funding," Smith said. "It's not a thing that a city would normally fund. We had some work to get done. I had the idea and was approached by a local citizen who set up a foundation for the police department here. While sharing with him my desire to want to do this, he offered to put money up front to try and get us started in addition to the foundation he set up for us. The main contributors for this - as far as funding goes - is the Merris and Jean Welge Foundation through the Richland County Foundation. They're local residents, you'll see their names engraved on the stone that's on the ground over there. The other person that was a big part of this project was Gregory Boyce from Modern Woodmen. Mister Boyce has been a big supporter of law enforcement and our agency here. He's the one that actually closed a big gap for us. He also used to be a police officer here as well, so that made a nice connection for us, along with the company that he works with. Lastly, one of the biggest vendors in our city is Wal-Mart - and this Wal-Mart store went out of their way to give funding to this project. Along with my wife and I, those are the four major contributors to the funding for this. It's kind of a dream come true."

The dedication ceremony is set to take place on July 5th, 2017 at 11:00 AM. Several local dignitaries will serve as guest speakers for the event.

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