ODOT orders part of highway memorial for fallen Cleveland police officer removed

Published: Jul. 28, 2021 at 12:31 PM EDT|Updated: Jul. 28, 2021 at 2:01 PM EDT
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CLEVELAND, Ohio (WOIO) -. Family and friends of a Cleveland police officer killed in the line of duty are upset after officials with the Ohio Department of Transportation (ODOT) ordered the partial removal of a highway memorial.

Officer David Fahey, 39, was killed by a hit and run driver on I-90 on Jan. 24, 2017.

There is a memorial sign for him located on I-90 near the W. 117th Exit that reads “Officer David Fahey Memorial Highway”.

The brown memorial sign is approved by ODOT; however, the Thin Blue Line Flag below the sign, is what needs to be removed, according to ODOT.

“It is personal because if you drive along the highways, you’ll see your political signs,” said Jackie Ketterer, Officer Fahey’s mom. “You’ll see your other special interest signs that are up along the highway, those are still there.”

Ketterer lost her son, 39-year-old Cleveland police officer David Fahey on January 24th 2017. She hasn’t been the same since.

“The loss of a child is devastating and unless you’ve been in my shoes and there are plenty of people who have, you’ll never understand,” Ketterer sad.

Every year on the anniversary of Ofc. Fahey’s death, his friends from the police academy do something to honor him. This year they had a thin blue flag memorial sign made.

“Before this we had been putting up a thin blue line flag underneath it for years since his sign went up and they wanted something that would last because the weather bears those flags up and they don’t look nice and they wanted something that looked nice,” said Chris Porter, Fahey’s brother.

Earlier this year, someone complained and ODOT took the flag down, but the family says they worked it out and it went back up the same day, but now ODOT has received another complaint and the agency says. The flags must come down.

“The public has had an outcry against the thin blue line and pro-police so if you’re pro-police right now it’s a bad thing,” said Ketterer. “I’m very upset because I feel betrayed by the public and the community that my son served because they’re taking one or two persons personal objective and using it to take this flag down when we feel that it should honor the fallen including our son.”

The memorial is located on I-90 West in Cleveland.
The memorial is located on I-90 West in Cleveland.((Source: WOIO))

ODOT said no signage is allowed on state property unless it is approved.

“There are no exceptions to the rule,” said Isaac Hunt, ODOT Public Information Officer.

Amanda McFarland with ODOT told 19 News they spoke with Cleveland police this week and explained why the sign needed to be removed and requested they do so.

The hit and run driver, Israel Alvarez, was sentenced to 12 years in prison.

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