Sunday, March 27, 2011

Clayton Law Enforcement Center will Have Memorial

The town's new "Law Enforcement Center," now under construction downtown, will include a memorial honoring the three local police officers who have died in the line of duty over the years.

The proposed design, which shows a larger-than-life officer exiting the Cente on the exterior, Second Street side of the bulding but has the same shape in relief as a void symbolizng loss on the interior, was unveiled at last week's Town Council meeting to rave reviews.

The memorial will include the names of the three fallen officers directly beside the inset shape: Monica W. Carey, William R. Gilmore and Charles H. Lee.

"Great!" said Mayor Jody McLeod. "It really tells the story."

Others on the Council echoed his statement.

"This is truly awesome," said Mayor Pro Tem Michael Grannis. "I'm very excited. To me, this really makes a statement."

Councilman Bob Satterfield also had high praise: "Good Job. I love it."

The memorial was designed by Clearscapes, PA, the new building's designer. Steven Schuster, a principal in the firm, said the memorial will be made from North Carolina slate.

"We think it is going to be memorable," he told the Council.

The 19,000-sq.ft. brick building will feature lots of glass and high quality metal trim made of zinc. It's energy-efficient design makes extensive use of natural light and high-efficiency heating and cooling systems. A model of the complex is available for viewing at the Clayton Center.

Schuster said the structure, which includes extensive landscaping, should blend in nicely with other buildings in the area and add to the beauty of downtown. Police are currently working out of a temporary headquarters at 9933 US 70W Business.

After years of planning, town officials decided to move ahead with the project after a report from Town Manager Steve Biggs warning that the town's highly regarded police force--which two years ago became one of the few law enforcement agencies in the country to earn full accreditation--was "bursting at the seams" in their old 5,000-sq.ft building.

The slowdown in th economy also facilitated very favorable financing terms and bid costs substantially below original project cost estimates.

Town officials have been working over the last few years to strengthen the police department, adding programs and capabilities as well as encouraging officers to obtain advanced training. As a result, the town has what Biggs described as "a first-rate" police department.

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