About the Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial Society
When a law enforcement officer dies in the line of duty, the loss reverberates throughout the community. The family loses a beloved member, the law enforcement agency loses a respected colleague, and the community loses the services of an officer dedicated to its protection.
The Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial Society (GCPOMS) was established in 1985 by a handful of area police officers after the funeral of a fellow officer killed in the line of duty. Grieving the loss of a friend and fellow officer, they made a promise: they would never abandon the families of fallen officers or let the community forget their service.
Keeping “The Promise”
The Police Memorial Society keeps the promise of its founders by honoring the service of fallen officers to ensure they are not forgotten, and by providing assistance and emotional support to their families and friends.
The mission of the Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial Society is to honor peace officers who have made the supreme sacrifice in the performance of service to their communities and the nation, especially those from the Greater Cleveland area, including Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina, and northern Summit Counties.
Creating a Living Memorial
Dedicated on May 14, 1993, The Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial features the names of each officer who has died in the line of duty from our area, surrounded by a beautifully landscaped garden that invites contemplation.
Located at the corner of West 3rd St. and Lakeside Ave in downtown Cleveland, the Memorial occupies the site of Fort Huntingon, built to defend the city during the War of 1812. It is fitting that it now serves to honor both those who continue to protect, and those who have died protecting our lives and property, especially those from Cuyahoga, Geauga, Lake, Lorain, Medina and northern Summit counties.
Constructed of black polished granite, the structure comprises almost 1,000 square feet of space, featuring a curved wall that slopes gently from two feet high upward to six feet semi-surrounding pillars. The Memorial wall bears the inscription: The Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial.
The pillars inside the curved wall measure seven feet wide, twelve feet high and two feet thick. Each bears the name, law enforcement agency, and the “end of watch” date of each of the officers who has died in the line of duty. Sadly, one of the pillars has space remaining for those officers who have yet to pay the supreme sacrifice in the never-ending war on crime.
The walkways approaching and encircling the Memorial are lined with commemorative pavers. The GCPOMS offers the public a meaningful way to demonstrate their support of law enforcement and the maintenance of the Memorial by purchasing a personalized brick.
Honoring Service to the Community
Each year in May, the Police Memorial Society remembers fallen officers during the Greater Cleveland Police Memorial Commemoration, a schedule of events for family, friends and the entire community. Commemoration Event (May 16-19, 2013) includes the following public events:
- Greater Cleveland Police Memorial Parade: Stepping off from Lakeside Avenue at 12th Street at 10:30 a.m. on Friday of the Commemoration.
- Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial Service: Huntington Park (Police Memorial Square), Lakeside and West 3rd immediately following parade.
- Public Safety Fair & Expo: Exhibits and interactive displays by first responders on Saturday of the Commemoration.
- Cleveland International Tattoo: Enjoy the stirring sounds and pageantry of the Pipes and Drums, marching bands, drill teams, dancers and choruses. A heartpoinding and high energy salute to our safety forces, our armed forces . . . our Country! At Public Hall on Saturday of the Commemoration.
In addition to the events described above, the Police Memorial Society also presents the following awards to outstanding law enforcement officers and members of the Greater Cleveland community who provide exceptional support to the Police Memorial Society and the law enforcement community:
- Samuel H. Miller Lifetime Achievement Award
- PO Anthony J. Johnson Memorial Police Officer of the Year Award
- Patrolman Norman A. Drew Memorial Citizen of the Year Award
- Lance Corporal Andrew W. Nowacki Memorial Veteran of the Year Award
- GCPOMS President’s Award
For more information about Greater Cleveland Police Memorial Commemoration Event, and a complete schedule of events, please click here.
Supporting Their Families
The Greater Cleveland Peace Officers Memorial Society provides financial assistance and on-going emotional and practical support to the families of fallen officers. Thanks to support of our members and generous donars, the Police Memorial Society is able to provide financial assistance to families of fallen and injured officers to help.
Advancing Education for Law Enforcement
Additionally, the Police Memorial Society awards the Peter Lawer Memorial Scholarship each year to a police officer furthering his/her education, or a student pursuing a degree in law enforcement or a related field, and planning a career in law enforcement. The scholarship is awarded each May during the annual Greater Cleveland Police Memorial Commemoration. For information about past scholarship winners or to apply, please click here.