A yearlong public art project in Turner Park and Midtown Crossing will commemorate Kerrie Orozco and other fallen Omaha police officers.
Seven life-size statues of riderless horses will be placed around the park and the development. The horses will be unveiled on May 20, the first anniversary of Orozco’s death.
An eighth is planned for Omaha Police headquarters downtown.
Orozco was shot to death on May 20, 2015, by a fugitive she was trying to arrest on a felony warrant.
“This project is for Kerrie and all of the brave Omaha police officers who have died in the service of our city,” Omaha Mayor Jean Stothert said at a press conference Tuesday announcing the effort.
The project, called Horses of Honor Omaha, is inspired by a similar effort in Chicago. The honored officers will have died in the past 10 to 20 years, and may have been killed by gunfire or illness. The eight identical horses have already been fabricated, but local artists will make each unique prior to the unveiling.
Omaha Police Chief Todd Schmaderer said the project would meet his three goals for commemorating Orozco’s death: That the public be involved, that the commemoration last and not be a one-time thing, and that it be something honoring other officers as well.
“It is our privilege to help celebrate the legacies of those who bravely served and protected our community,” Schmaderer said.
A free tribute concert and festival will take place May 21 in Turner Park.
During the year the horses are displayed, organizers expect upward of 300,000 people to visit the park.
There will also be a life-size replica of a police dog to honor Kobus, an Omaha police dog shot and killed during a standoff on Jan. 23.
In about a year, the figures will be auctioned off and the proceeds will go to the Omaha Police Foundation to purchase equipment for officers.