Plaque honoring officers killed in the line of duty restored

The memorial plaque honoring the Minneapolis police officers who were killed in the line of duty has been returned to the Minneapolis Police Department after an 18-month restoration. The plaque depicts the names of the 44 Minneapolis police officers who have died in the line of duty.

Originally dedicated in 1938 by the Police Officers’ Federation of Minneapolis, the plaque had to be totally recreated due to its original configuration. In order to add new names, the plaque had to be re-cast and each individual name plate had to be redone.

In early 2011, the plaque was turned over to retired Minneapolis Police Officer Neil Brodin, the founder of Brodin Studios in Litchfield, so that the names of Melissa Schmidt and David Loeffler could be added to the memorial. The Brodin Studios specializes in life-size bronze statues and memorials for fallen law enforcement/fire personnel. The Minneapolis plaque has special significance to Brodin because one of his former partner’s names is on the memorial. Hundreds of hours went into the project, which Brodin called the most difficult his studio has ever undertaken.

The memorial plaque honors the individuals who have given their lives to protect this city and stands as a statement that they will never be forgotten.

Each metal plate on the plaque lists the fallen officer’s name, appointment date and date of death. The first name on the plaque is that of Officer Joseph Ollinger, who was killed in the line of duty during a July 11, 1911 gunfight with a man who had escaped from Stillwater prison. The escapee had been sentenced in 1909 for shooting at another Minneapolis Police Officer. Officer Ollinger recognized the suspect and the gunfight erupted when Officer Ollinger tried to take the suspect into custody at Central Avenue and 25th Avenue NE. Officer Ollinger and the suspect were both were killed in the exchange.

The last name on the plaque is that of Officer David Loeffler, who died May 29, 2009 from complications related to injuries sustained when he was struck by a drunk driver on March 15, 1997. Officer Loeffler, only a six-month veteran of the department, and his partner stopped to help an intoxicated man who was staggering in traffic on Broadway Avenue. As Officer Loeffler was helping the man, a drunk driver struck Officer Loeffler and crushed his leg between the drunk driver’s car and the squad car. Officer Loeffler lost his right leg and retired from the department several years later to become a prosecutor. Twelve years later Officer Loeffler died as a result of his injury.

For more information on other Minneapolis police officers killed in the line of duty, go to the Officers Down Memorial Page.

 

Published Nov. 7, 2012