RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — After being removed from public view during 2020 unrest, the Richmond Police Department acknowledged no plans to resurrect the statue honoring officers killed in uniform.
The statue now sits in the corner of a parking lot used by the department, and does not have security to prevent people from accessing it. The only security mechanism on site is a no trespassing sign.
However, the man behind the statue’s long saga is perplexed how, and why it now stands in a parking lot, after he says it was stored in a warehouse for cleaning and safe-keeping following several vandalism incidents two years ago where it stood in Byrd Park.
“On Christmas day we realized it hadn’t been covered like it was promised to be, so we spent half an afternoon covering it up as it currently is now,” Glenwood Burley said; a retired Richmond police officer and initial lobbyist for the statue to be erected in 1987.
The news of two officers killed on a Virginia college campus puts a spotlight on families whose loved ones are not coming home, and has prompted Burley to again call for the statue to be moved to the Virginia Capitol Square.
The statue was neglected after its unveiling in the late 80s, and prompted Burley and friend, Penn Burke, to move the figure elsewhere–it was rededicated in Byrd Park.
Both men believe that the confines of a guarded Capitol Square will provide the security the statue needs after the recent defacement.
Burke, the grandson of a Richmond officer shot dead while on-duty in 1925, said “Capitol Square has more protection than Byrd Park, more protection than the [Richmond] Coliseum, more protection than a street corner somewhere.“
8News asked Burley why he believes calls to move the statue to a more secure location has fallen on deaf ears.
“This statue has been the stepchild of abandonment and neglect and obscurity for so many years,” he said.
“Then for someone in the city to take that statue out of a secure warehouse, and drop it off in the back of a parking lot that anyone can walk up to and vandalize it is unacceptable.”
8News attempted to discover who moved that statue, and why. Though the ownership of the statue is unconfirmed, a spokesperson for the Richmond Police told 8News, “There are no plans at the moment [to relocate the statue] and it still remains in storage for the time being.”
8News independently verified the statue is in a parking lot, there is no security preventing people from accessing it and possibly vandalizing it other than a no trespassing sign.
Whether a parking lot can be considered “storage“ is up for a debate, as RPD described.
8News has chosen not to specifically identify the statue’s location over the two men’s security concerns though no threat to it is known to exist.