CONCORD, N.C. — There is a petition circulating with more than 6,500 signatures to change the name of the bridge on Bruton Smith Boulevard over Interstate 85 in honor of fallen Concord Police Officer Jason Shuping.
The 25-year-old officer was killed in the line of duty in December.
The North Carolina Department of Transportation (NCDOT) says it has received an initial application for renaming the bridge, but there are still a lot of other procedural hurdles that need to be cleared before any changes are made.
“There is a one-year waiting period for namings and honorary designations for a deceased individual,” NCDOT officials said. “If there is a request for exception, a justification will be needed.”
The Davidson Police Department made a similar request in 2017 after Officer Mark Swaney was killed in the line of duty in 1998. The state rejected that request because Swaney was a town employee.
“Hopefully there’s going to be a broad amount of community support and hopefully NCDOT does the right thing,” said Concord Police Chief Gary Gacek. “We want to be able to honor him and his sacrifice and his service to the community.”
In addition to the idea of renaming the bridge over I-85, a statue of Officer Shuping’s likeness will be going up in the Concord Police Department’s rotunda. A bronze officer will stand in the center while a plaque of Shuping will sit behind him, keeping watch on his fellow officer.
The City of Concord just approved $100,000 to build the statue.
Officer Kaleb Robinson was also wounded in the shooting outside a fast-food restaurant near Concord Mills.
“I ask all of you to please not let Jason be forgotten and to let this be a permanent ‘memorial’ to him and a sign to our local officers and deputies that we care about them,” the petition reads.
You can view the petition here.
The NCDOT said it has received an initial application from Cabarrus County and are very early in the process, and that these cases are evaluated on a case by case basis.
Cox Media Group