Drivers passing by the Hamilton Police headquarters on Whitehorse-Mercerville Road might notice a large, badge-shaped block of granite with nothing inscribed on its face.
But it’s not blank—the text on the township’s new police monument is just on the other side.
The product of a yearslong effort by Hamilton PBA 66, the monument faces the front doors of the police division headquarters, and serves as a reminder for the township’s police that the public support them, said PBA 66 president Michael Kane.
“Every officer that works passes by that spot at some point during their shift,” said Kane, a detective with the Hamilton Police. “We positioned it the way we did, facing the police station, so they’ll always be able to look at it.”
The monument will have an official unveiling in the early spring, after the ground thaws enough so that electrical work and landscaping can be completed. The monument itself—which is in the shape of the HPD badge, and is engraved with 1927, the year of HPD’s incorporation—and the walkway up to the monument have been completed already. The walkway is made up of individual pavers, which also have been laid out in the shape of the HPD badge. The names of current and former police officers—as well as those who supported the project—have been engraved on the pavers.
Once completed, the site also will feature National Law Enforcement flag and blue lights in front and back of the monument to illuminate it at night.
The idea for a dedicated Hamilton Police monument arose four years ago, when then-PBA president Steve Gould started thinking about how the township had a place to honor armed services and firefighters but not police. Kane took over as president in 2014, and met with Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yaede to discuss a number of issues. The police monument came up, and Yaede threw her support behind it. Chief James Collins also has supported the project from the beginning, Kane said.
The PBA raised between $12,000 and $15,000 for the project. Most support came after Hamilton Mayor Kelly Yaede dedicated a portion of the proceeds from her 2015 Mayor’s Ball to the project. The PBA never solicited donations.
“It was unbelievable the support we got,” Kane said.
The project had financial backing from Wawa Foundation’s Scott Kent, former Hamilton Texas Roadhouse managing partner Norm Patten, Britton Industries and Peroni’s Upholstery, in addition to Yaede. The PBA applied for assistance from the EP Henry Heroscaping Project, which donated supplies and materials, such as all the pavers. Hamilton-based Abby Rose, Inc. completed the monument work in Oct. 2015, and has engraved the pavers. The shop’s owner, James Kenna, is a retired New Jersey State Police officer. Kenna’s son, Mike, is an officer with the Hamilton Police.
Warrick Landscapes came up with the design for the monument, and installed everything at Hamilton Police headquarters. The company is owned by Dave Warrick, Sr., whose son Dave Jr. is an officer with the Hamilton Police.
Kane said it is important to note that the addition to HPD’s front lawn is a monument, not a memorial. To this point, no officers have been lost in the line of duty in the 80-year history of the Hamilton Police.
But that hasn’t stopped people from frequenting the monument already. Just a few months into its existence, someone already has left flowers at the monument three or four times. No one at the police division has taken responsibility, leading Kane to believe a resident has been visiting and leaving the flowers behind.