City council approves Wayzata Police Memorial

James W. Anderson was killed in the line of duty 35 years ago

A new memorial will be installed next year at Wayzata City Hall in honor of Wayzata Police Sgt. James W. Anderson, who was killed in the line of duty Aug. 31, 1982.

Sgt. James Anderson

The Wayzata City Council approved the memorial at its Sept. 5 meeting after receiving concept designs from a memorial committee consisting of Councilmember Johanna McCarthy, City Manager Jeffrey Dahl, Public Works Director Dave Dudinsky, Police Chief Mike Risvold, Police Officer Tim McCarthy, resident Gayle Wilson and Parks and Trails Board Member Sarah Showalter. Jeff Lambert, the city’s prosecuting attorney, also provided insight on the committee.

Last summer, several residents voiced their support for a memorial that was more visible and significant than the one located at the lower level entrance of city hall.

“The memorial itself wasn’t significant enough to honor and tell the story of what happened that day, and it wasn’t in a very prominent location where members of the public could see,” Dahl said.

During the past six months, memorial committee members met to discuss the scale and location of the new memorial and worked with noted memorial designer James Cota.

“He put together a number of concepts, which after a couple meetings we whittled down to one preferred concept,” Dahl said.

In the end, the committee decided on a design that features a 7-foot tall granite memorial carrying a bronze Wayzata Police Department badge and “thin blue line” symbol, a marker with a bronze memorial plaque and a bench to be located about 10 feet east of the community room at city hall.

The memorial will cost around $50,000, which will be covered by the city’s excess fund transfers from 2016.

Concept designs for a new memorial honoring fallen Wayzata Police Sgt. James W. Anderson have been approved by the city council. (Design by James Cota)

Now that the concept designs have been approved, the project will go out for bid. The goal for completion of the memorial is May or August 2018.

“[It’s] meant to be a reflective area, but also complement the environment of the city hall campus,” the city manager said.

Anderson was shot and killed on his 36th birthday while responding to a domestic disturbance call at an apartment building on Rice Street. Anderson was shot three times in the chest by George Johnson, who fled the scene and took hostages at the Wayzata Post Office before taking his own life.

Anderson had been with the Wayzata department for one year and had been in law enforcement for 13 years. He was survived by his fiancée and three sons.

McCarthy thanked the memorial committee members for their work and applauded the concept design.

“We’ve worked very hard to find the right scale and modesty that we thought was befitting of our community yet pay the proper amount of respect to Officer Anderson for the sacrifice that he made for all of us,” McCarthy said.

Wilson, a Wayzata resident who was on the committee, also spoke at the council meeting.

“As the mother of Wayzata Police Officer Dave Wilson and as a wife of an officer that was down there in the trenches that morning after I woke him up – to stand here today and see what the city of Wayzata did for JW, I could not be more humbled or more honored to say that I am part of this city,” Wilson said.