The National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, is running out of space for names decades earlier than expected.
The National Capital Planning Commission is scheduled to consider a proposal at its Feb. 6 meeting to expand the memorial honoring fallen police officers in the line of duty.
The memorial was dedicated in October 1991 with the names of 12,561 officers who died in the line of duty through the end of 1990, according to a project synopsis prepared for the NCPC. It was originally designed for enough space to add names annually through 2100, assuming an average of 153 deaths per year.
But the average number of names added has been more than double that at 337 a year, given the events of 9/11 — and the tragic fallout of the terrorist attacks, as so many first responders fell ill at the World Trade Center site — and newly discovered names from prior to 1960, when the FBI started tracking police officer deaths, BizJournals.com reports. Currently, the walls display the names of 21,183 fallen officers, and the memorial, if not modified, will run out of room by 2029, according to the synopsis.
The project proposes to add 15 inches to the height of the existing curved Walls of Remembrance by removing the Adair marble wall cap and replacing it with a taller stone cap made of the same material. This would provide space for approximately 9,000 new names that can be added until roughly 2057.