Law enforcement memorial garden seeks to raise $4 million

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KANSAS CITY, Mo. -- A campaign to honor law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty seeks to raise $4 million to create a law enforcement memorial garden.

The new tribute would provide a peaceful environment to remember lives lost.

While the police memorial downtown honors officers with their names and dates of death, organizers of the new effort want visitors to learn more about the people behind these badges.

A new law enforcement memorial garden would be built on 3.5 acres of city land behind the police academy near Searcy Creek Parkway and Pleasant Valley Road.

Any law enforcement officer killed in the line of duty from Clay, Platte, Jackson or Cass counties will be part of this commemoration.

For the family of Riverside, Mo., police officer Jeff Taylor, who was killed while responding to the tornado in Joplin, Mo., in 2011, having a peaceful place where families and friends can reflect on the human qualities of their loved ones will help people better understand their sacrifices.

"My hope and goal for this project is that anybody who comes to the memorial can see everybody’s life that is lost and also remember that they were a person behind the badge," said Staci Taylor Brakhage, the fallen officer's sister. "They were somebody more than just an officer. There was a story to each person."

Organizers say technology will be part of the memorial garden, so that visitors can learn personal details of officers' lives, and the unique, individual personalities that families cherish will not be forgotten.

The city will contribute $600,000 to construction of the memorial garden.

Private donations will pay the remainder of the costs. The memorial garden foundation also seeks to create an endowment to ensure the memorial is maintained for generations to come.

You can learn more about the project, or make a contribution here.