Tega Cay, SC – Critics blasted Tega Cay city officials for accepting a donated law enforcement memorial that featured the “Police Officer’s Prayer.”
Critics were enraged that the memorial stone contained the word “Lord” three different times, WBTV reported.
The fallen officer monument was donated by the Tega Cay Women’s Club approximately two weeks prior, Tega Cay City Manager Charlie Funderburk told WJZY.
The “Police Officer’s Prayer” is well-known in the law enforcement community, and is featured on countless fallen officer memorials across the country.
Almost immediately after the memorial was put on display at the new police department, the city began receiving complaints about the Christian reference, Funderburk said.
“There was never any intent to hold one religion in higher regard to another, or one person in higher regard than another,” the city manager said. “But as the complaints came in the end result was pretty clear.”
After meeting with the city attorney, city leaders decided to paint over the three sections of the memorial where the word “Lord” appeared.
But that solution didn’t produce the results city officials were hoping for.
“There is just as many people upset now that it got removed over people upset it was there in the first place,” Funderburk said. “There is no win here at all.”
As the controversy grew, city leaders ultimately removed the memorial altogether on Tuesday night.
“We attempted to find a compromise but failed as our community has further divided. In an attempt to find a resolution, we have upset parties on both sides of this issue and for that we are truly sorry,” the City of Tega Cay said in a statement, according to WBTV.
“The City of Tega Cay’s intent from the beginning of this project was to recognize our current and fallen police officers,” the statement read. “Without their courage, strength, dedication, concern and compassion, as mentioned in the police officer’s prayer inscribed on the monument, our City would be a much different place.”
On Friday morning, the city council announced that the memorial will be fully restored and put back on display.
“After careful consideration and much conversation with people on both sides of the discussion, City Council has made the decision that the Police Officer's Prayer will be restored to its original condition and returned to the Fallen Officers’ Memorial located at the new police station,” the city said in a press release.
“We want to thank everyone for voicing your opinion, as it’s not always easy to do so on such a sensitive subject,” the statement read.
The city noted that the memorial was never intended to be divisive.
“Our City Council and citizens have always been strong supporters of the men and women in blue,” the statement continued. “This was a tough week in Tega Cay. It is our hope that we can now move forward together and continue to be the strong, welcoming community that we have always been known for. Regardless of our different viewpoints, our people are what truly makes this City such a wonderful place.”