MN State Memorial

mn state memorial

Every year on May 14th and 15th, since the memorial was first erected at the International Airport in 1977, officers from throughout the state stand guard duty around the monument. Officers stand in silent vigil for twenty minute shifts. At the conclusion of each officer guard shift the officer reads the name and end of watch date for each fallen Minnesota officer. All the while a LEMA Honor Guard Officer walks the Thin Blue Line. This LEMA Honor Guard officer is changed every 20 minutes with a precision rifle inspection by the Inspector of the Guard.

An especially poignant point of the Memorial Guard involves canine officers with their partners sitting quietly in memory of the our fallen officers, and the several canines that have been lost on the job, many protecting the lives of their handlers. This Memorial Guard event is held from 7:00 pm on May 14th to the end of the Memorial Day program approximately 8:00 pm on May 15th.

For more images of the Memorial and events, head over to our Gallery page.

Memorial History

memorialThe Minnesota Law Enforcement Memorial Association (LEMA) 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 in May of 1995 to the capitol grounds in St. Paul as the centerpiece of the Peace Officer’s Memorial.

Once the memorial was built, LEMA expanded its service to include granting college scholarships to the immediate family members of fallen officers. More than $100,000 in scholarships have been awarded. LEMA also sponsors an annual memorial service. This service is held on the evening of May 15th just off the memorial site on the State Capitol grounds. At this service a ribbon bearing the name of each officer lost in the line of duty during the previous year is installed permanently on the LEMA Honor Guard unit colors (flag). As of January 1, 2024, this list includes the names of more than 350 officers dating back to Matthew Hamilton, a Winona Police Officer, end of watch December 3rd, 1874.

Memorial Renovations

After many years of lobbying and about two years of work, the major renovation of the Memorial was completed in the fall of 2021 and the results are breathtaking. The fountain base was replaced as were all of the granite pavers and subflooring. The thin blue line was replaced with vibrant LED lights, and significant landscaping occurred around the memorial. The state of Minnesota allocated funds and expertise to get these renovations completed. Later it was determined relocating the Legend Plaque and pedestal, which describes the memorial to the public, to a more advantageous location was necessary. Because this was outside of the original scope of the renovations, the state agreed to facilitate engineering the change, but did not have the funds to dedicate to this part of the project. The LEMA Board approved the allocation of funds for this part of the project. Funds for this project came from sales of the repurposed original granite pieces salvaged from the memorial renovation, LEMA License Plate Funds, and the LEMA general fund.

Thin Blue Line

The Blue Line that is walked by the LEMA Guard is a blue lighted line on the ground leading to the State Memorial. The line represents The Thin Blue Line explained below:

The Thin Blue Line is a phrase known world wide to Police Officers…It denotes the final barrier which stands between our citizens and chaos. The only time this line is disrupted is when an Officer has fallen or is injured in the course of executing his sworn duty. At the end of duty, when this breach appears, our youngest, and finest step up to fill in the line and help maintain order and serve our citizens.

Visitor Information

The memorial is located at 6 12th St E St. Paul, MN 55101.
Use the interactive map below to get directions to the memorial from you address.