Battle over memorial bridge for fallen police officer
Posted October 8, 2020 6:27 p.m. EDT
Clinton, N.C. — Clinton Police Department officer Donald Tucker was just 22-years-old when he died in the line of duty in 1991. His picture hangs inside police headquarters, and his name is etched in stone outside.
As a final tribute, his family asked that the bridge on Faircloth Freeway that stretches across Highway 24 be named in his honor.
Anyone who passes through Clinton, likely passes over or under this bridge. Because of the bridge's prominence in the community, Tucker's family thought it would be a great way to honor their fallen hero.
However, the measure was recently voted down by Clinton City Council.
"All the legwork has been done," said Reginald Tucker, the officer's brother. "The only thing the city has to do is vote for it."
The item was added Tuesday to the council's agenda. Three council members voted in favor, but Neal Strickland and Holden Dubose said no. The vote had to be unanimous to pass.
Mayor Lew Starling said the vote failed because of the way it was put on the agenda.
"Everybody said he was just outstanding," said Starling. "There's no disputing about that. And what happened to him was terrible."
However, Starling pointed out that Clinton officials consider protocol and process very important. "We're real big on making sure everything is correct. We have not had staff review this. We've not had a public hearing on it. The bridge will not be ready until 2022," said Starling.
Family members said that's exactly why they'd like the city to commit to naming the bridge in honor of their fallen hero.
Reginald Tucker said, "This bridge would be completed on the 30th anniversary of Donald's death."
The family hopes City Council reconsiders the vote. Starling said they will, and because construction is still going on, they have two years to do the research to properly consider it.