The Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association was formed in 1974 by Jim Crawford, then Chief of Police in Golden Valley, MN. LEMA was founded with the sole purpose of building a memorial to Minnesota peace officers who had died in the line of duty. This memorial was designed and the fundraising began. In 1977, the beautiful granite memorial was erected in the main concourse of the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport. The memorial remained on display there until it was moved to its new home in the centerpiece of the Peace Officer's Memorial on the capitol grounds in St. Paul.
Once the memorial was built, LEMA expanded its service to include granting college scholarships to the immediate family members of fallen officers. Nearly $100,000 in scholarships have been awarded. LEMA also sponsors an annual memorial service hosted by departments around the state. This service is held the first Sunday in May of each year. It is at this service that a ribbon bearing the name of each officer lost in the line of duty during the year is installed permanently on the LEMA flag. This service also includes the reading of the Honor Roll, the list of names of fallen Minnesota officers. As of January 1, 2005, this list includes the names of 223 officers dating back to 1881.
Other services provided by LEMA include Police Week activities, including the Memorial Guard and Candlelight Service.
National Law Enforcement Day - May 15th
In Minnesota, LEMA hosts a "Standing of the Memorial Guard" event on May 15th. Officers from across the state post guard around our Peace Officer's memorial which is located on the State Capitol grounds. Standing of the memorial guard commences at 2000 hours on the evening of the 14th and continues until 1930 hours on May 15th. At 1930 hours LEMA hosts a Candlelight vigil. This service begins with Honor Guard units from across the state that march in a parade across the Wabasha Bridge, up to the Peace Officers' Memorial and stand at parade rest around the guests in attendance at the service. Each guest is provided with a candle before the ceremony begins which is lit at the end of the service. For more information on these events please contact a LEMA Board of Director.