Ceremonies Remember Police Officers Killed In The Line Of Duty
Ceremonies were held in Champaign and Urbana Friday remembering police officers who were killed in the line of duty.
The playing of “Taps”, a three-volley salute and the display of wreaths were some of the ceremonial touches at the Champaign County Police Memorial Day ceremony in front of the courthouse in Urbana.
Illinois Supreme Court Chief Justice Rita Garman addressed the police officers present, who represented departments in Champaign County, and several other Illinois communities.
Garman said she had learned in her years as a lawyer and judge, of the vital role that police play in enforcing the law, and the daily risks that officers face.
“Every day we know when you go to work, many of you face hazards that may take your life or may cause an irreparable injury that will inform the way the rest of your life is spent,” said Garman.
At the close of the ceremony, Champaign County Chief Deputy Allen Jones gave a reminder of police work’s dangers that struck closer to home. Jones reminded the officers present of the recent case of Dracy Pendleton, the Bellflower man who wounded two officers this month.
“Recent events in Champaign County with the shooting of an officer in Mahomet, as well as a federal agent who aided in the manhunt down in southern Illinois, has shown us how quickly events can happen,” said Jones. This yet, another reminder to be vigilant. Stay safe. And may you always return to your family and friends at the end of your shift.”
A U-S flag hangs above officers attending the Champaign Police and Fire Memorial ceremony at West Side Park. (Jim Meadows / Illinois Public Media)
Pendleton shot and wounded a Mahomet police officer following a traffic stop on May 9th. Later, after a week-long manhunt, Pendleton was killed in a shootout with police in Pope County, but only after shooting and wounding an FBI SWAT team member.
Jones confirmed that the wounded Mahomet officer, Jeremy Scharlow, attended the noon-hour ceremony in Urbana.
An hour earlier, a separate ceremony at West Side Park in Champaign remembered the two police officers and one firefighter who lost their lives while on active duty in that city.