Following in the path of Johnston County Commissioners, the Smithfield Town Council has adopted a resolution Oct. 6th in support of renaming the US70 Business/West Market Street Bridge in memory of Deputy Clendon Paul West Sr.
Commissioners adopted a similar resolution on Oct. 5th.
Deputy West was shot and killed in the line of duty on September 11, 1995. More than 20 years later, local officials have taken the first official steps toward the renaming of the bridge.
The slain officer’s family had been asking for a memorial in his honor for years.
The Town of Smithfield resolution read in part, “Deputy Clendon Paul West Sr. gave the ultimate sacrifice for his service to the Town of Smithfield and Johnston County… the Town of Smithfield’s Town Council desires to show its respect for Deputy Clendon Paul West Sr. in a lasting and meaningful way… (and) requests that the US Highway 70 Business / Market Street Neuse River Bridge #40 be named in memory of Deputy Clendon Paul West Sr.”
Members of the West family were on hand to receive the proclamation after it was approved by the Town Council and read into the record by Mayor John Lampe.
Jennifer G. Heiss, Communications Officer with the NC Department of Transportation told WTSB News that once the NC DOT receives the resolutions, it will be brought before the Board of Transportation for approval. The earliest it could be brought before the Board would be in November. The resolution would then go to the Board’s Road Naming Committee then brought back before the Board of Transportation for a vote in December.
Once approved, the NC DOT would send a letter to Johnston County and the Town of Smithfield. Once funding is secured for the memorial signs, it will take an additional 6 to 8 weeks to have the signs manufactured, Heiss said. The DOT would then work with the West family on a time to hold a ceremony. This means the officials bridge renaming would not likely take place until next Spring.
Johnston County Sheriff Steve Bizzell announced Oct. 5th he would pay the $2,000 cost for the signs out of his budget, saying it should not be up to the family to hold a fundraiser to raise the funds. “All gave some, some gave all. The West Family gave all,” Sheriff Bizzell said.