Vandalized mural honoring slain Dayton officer Whalen to be repainted

A mural dedicated to a Dayton police officer who was killed in the line of duty nearly 30 years ago will be repainted this year after it was defaced last summer.

The mural on Steve Whalen Boulevard honored the Dayton police officer the street was named after. Whalen was killed during a traffic stop while investigating an earlier shooting. He died on March 22, 1991.

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The mural was defaced in June during the height of civil unrest throughout the country. The original mural was painted over white to hide the graffiti, and that’s the wall’s current state.

However, Jason Antonick, who is heading the project to repaint the mural, said that won’t be the case for long. He said he was disappointed but not surprised to find that the mural had been vandalized. But he said it’s an opportunity to update the mural, and he has been working with people who live in the neighborhood to pick a new design that both honors Whalen’s sacrifice and is representative of the community he served.

“Steve Whalen was all about community policing, so we want to get the community’s input,” he said.

Meetings have been held, and more are being held, to get as many ideas as possible, he said.

“The feedback that we are getting with regard to how the mural should look is that the mural should identify and recognize how east Dayton has changed and that the mural is representative of the way the community looks now,” Antonick said. “We want the mural to be embracing and connected to the community Steve served.”

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Antonick said the previous mural was made on a minimal budget, but the new one will have more financial backing. He said the plan is to solicit artists starting in the second quarter of this year, and the mural will be painted with volunteer help in the third quarter.

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