Officials representing Vestavia Hills gathered at City Hall with community members May 15 to dedicate the nearly finished “Thin Blue Line” memorial.
The ceremony was held on Police Memorial Day and was hosted by the Vestavia Hills Police Department Foundation, the Vestavia Hills Police Department and the Vestavia Hills Chamber of Commerce.
The memorial was erected to commemorate all officers in Alabama, whether currently serving or having served.
Keynote speaker at the event was former Jefferson County District Attorney David Barber, who spoke about the commitment that is required to serve in law enforcement and the level of risk an officer faces each day on the job.
Master of ceremonies for the event was Jefferson County Commissioner Steve Ammons, who helped spearhead fundraising for the memorial.
The project began more than three years ago, when Police Chief Dan Rary and Lt. Brian Gilham reached out to Ammons, then serving on the City Council, looking for a way to commemorate their fellow officers.
“It is exciting to see any plan come to life, but this one has special meaning to me because these guys are like family to me, and I want to serve them as much as they serve the community,” said Ammons.
Money for the memorial continues to be raised through the foundation, a nonprofit organized to collect donations by individuals, local organizations and officers through payroll deductions. Additionally, the foundation donates money for police equipment and training.
City and county officials cut the ribbon at the memorial’s pavilion, where phase one of the project has been completed. The first phase includes a 5-foot marble statue of a police department badge.
The second phase will include two bronze statues, one a police officer and the other a child saluting.
“I would like for the memorial to be a constant reminder to our citizens that law enforcement is a difficult and dangerous job,” Ammons said, “and we are privileged to have the men and women of the Vestavia Hills Police Department to protect our city and our families.
“I would like for the memorial to be a constant reminder to our officers that there is a community that is behind them and supports the job that they do to protect us.”
— Emily Williams