Fayette County

Proposal advances to rename street after fallen police officer Durman

The city's addressing committee reconsidered an earlier refusal to rename a small street in Lexington after police Officer Bryan J. Durman, who died in the line of duty April 29.

On Friday, members voted on the issue for the second time and approved allowing the proposed change to go before the Urban County Council. The council must consider the change before it is made, but Mayor Jim Newberry issued a release last month saying he supports changing Hilo Street to Durman Drive and would "work with council and administrative agencies to make that happen."

Hilo Street is a small street with no addresses that connects Industry Road to Goodwin Drive. It is near the police department's Central Sector roll-call building, where Durman reported to work.

Enhanced 911 dispatcher Amy Ross, who proposed the idea, said Durman travelled the road daily. She said Friday that having Durman Drive close to the roll-call building will help his co-workers remember his sacrifice and the dangers they face on the job.

At its July meeting, the council decided for several reasons not to rename the street. The reasons included that the change was not a public safety issue and that there were no precedents for renaming streets after fallen public servants. Streets have not been named after firefighter Brenda Cowan, who was shot while responding to a domestic-violence call in 2004, or Deputy Joe Angelucci, who was killed while serving a warrant in 1988.

The driveway to the police kennel off Old Frankfort Pike is named after Roy K. Mardis, a canine officer who was killed by a stray bullet during a manhunt in 1985, but that was done "before we had the standards and the system we have today," said David Lucas, E911 director and head of the addressing committee.

Lucas had previously said that renaming Hilo Street, which is about 150 yards long, wasn't a fitting tribute to the officer. But after learning of the support of Brandy Durman, the officer's widow, and the police department, he changed his mind.

"After getting input from the widow and others, who am I to argue if they think that is fitting?" Lucas said at the meeting.

Lucas and three other members voted in favor of the change Friday. The planning division's Tom Martin abstained from voting, saying he was conflicted, and fire department Capt. Charles Bowen voted against the change, arguing that it unfairly distinguishes between deaths of citizens and public servants.

After learning that the committee approved the change, Ross said it was a "positive step toward not only making the public aware of what a police officer risks while protecting and serving a community, but also reminding those left behind what 'honor' truly means."

The city council will consider the name change Aug. 31 at the earliest, Lucas said. It could take more than a month after that to create signs and update records.

"I feel confident that the council will also see the importance of the name change and will approve it," Ross said.