Finding a new site for ‘forgotten’ Richmond police memorial statue

RICHMOND, Va (WRIC) – A retired Richmond Police officer is spearheading the effort to relocate a forgotten police memorial statue downtown.

“Particularly in today’s society with all the sensitivity with law enforcement, it’s just an added scar of hurt and pain to allow this to stand like it was,” said Glenwood W. Burley.

Burley retired from the department in 1985. For him, finding a new home for the Richmond Police Memorial Statue is personal.

“It’s heartfelt, and it’s special.”

The bronze statue has been at Nina F. Abady Festival Park downtown for almost 30 years. The statue of an officer holding a little girl commemorates 28 officers who died in the line of duty.

“Seven officers in there I actually worked with, and two were killed while I was working,” he said.

So back in May when he saw the condition it was in, he says he had to contact RPD Chief Alfred Durham.

“Was cut by the smell of urine and beer cans and weeds and all. I went into full mode to say, ‘We can’t let this stand another day in vain,’” he said.

The city cleaned up the bushes around the statue and the whole park as well. But that didn’t address the bigger problem.

“The citizens of Richmond, the majority don’t even know this statue exists or even where it’s at and it’s just two blocks from City Hall,” explained Burley.

Burley and Chief Durham are now part of “Research & Relocate Site Committee,” created to find a new site for the statue.

“We’re looking at places that’s going to create awareness and exposure of it, give it sunshine,” said Burley.

He says they’re looking at places like the Virginia Museum of Fine Arts and the Virginia War Memorial.

Meanwhile, supporters like Kelly Wince have helped raise awareness about the statue, and the importance of honoring our police officers.

“They would take a bullet for any one of us, and for us to not know that the statue is here or to have it forgotten, it’s heartbreaking,” said Wince with the group United for Blue.

City council members support the efforts and would ultimately have to vote on the new location.

Burley hopes to have it done by Thanksgiving.

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