Money nearly raised for state fallen officer memorial

Robert Kozminski was the last Grand Rapids Police Department officer to die in the line of duty. He was ambushed and shot to death on Emerald Avenue NE in 2007.

LANSING, Mich. (AP) — A Michigan group is hoping to raise $350,000 this year for a monument to honor the state’s law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty.

The Michigan Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Monument Commission has been raising money since 2005, The Lansing State Journal reported . The memorial would honor the more than 40 Michigan law enforcement officers who have died in the past 12 years.

The memorial fund has about $1.2 million. About $400,000 of the funds have been donations, while $800,000 has been from a matching grant the Legislature. The grant is scheduled to expire in October. Commission leaders have also trimmed more than $1 million off the cost of the monument.

The memorial commission is relatively new when compared to the other nonprofits and charities competing for donors, said John Szczubelek, who represents the Attorney General’s Office on the commission.

With the commission nearing their goal, organizers may have the momentum needed to raise the remaining funds, Szczubelek said.

Donors like to give when they “feel like their pebble is going to be one of the last dropped into the vase to put us over the mark,” he said.

The state should do more to promote the fundraising campaign, said Larry Julian, who sponsored the 2004 bill creating the commission when he was a state representative. He is also a former Michigan State Police trooper.

“All it’s lacking is somebody to get behind it and push it,” Julian said. “All of our law enforcement officers and first responders deserve it. I think there are people who will donate to it. I don’t think they know about it.”

Commissioners hope to break ground next year, Szczubelek said.

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