Badge of fallen officer returned home

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — “Almost didn’t go to the show,” Zane Ziegler, Champaign Police Department, said. “You know, so what’s the odds?”

Some may call it fate, but decades later a piece of the Champaign Police Department has returned home. Champaign Police are thankful for something this coming holiday. They were able to return a special piece of memorabilia that has been missing since 1967.

Champaign Police are happy to finally bring home the badge of one of their fallen officers. 54 years later,, Officer Robert Tatman’s badge is finally back home where it belongs.

“I almost fell over when I saw that number 80 and knew it had to be his badge so just lucky to get it back,” Ziegler said.

Decades later, a lost Champaign Police Department artifact has returned home.

“I have no idea how it got out of the department, or what happened to it in 1967 or since then,” Ziegler said.

Zane Ziegler, is a retired Champaign Police Officer. He went to a national police collectors show in Missouri. While he was there he ran into another collector from Chicago. The Chicago collector said he had a Champaign PD badge. He showed Ziegler a picture of the badge and Ziegler couldn’t believe it.

“It was number 80,” Ziegler said. “To a lot of people that wouldn’t make any difference, but I knew it was Tatman’s badge. Had to be the badge he was wearing that night because that’s what they wore and I know he had his coat on that night he was killed, so that had to be the badge he was wearing.”

Robert Tatman was killed November 25th, 1967. He is one of three Champaign Police officers to be killed while in the line of duty. His badge has been missing for decades.

“I told him I had to have it,” Ziegler said. “We talked a little bit and he eventually sold it to me so we got it back where it belongs.”

This Thanksgiving will be 54 years Tatman has been gone and Champaign Police say this year they’re thankful to have the badge back where it belongs.

“Just like me, they couldn’t believe it, just could not believe it that something like that was showing up after all this time and what’s the odds? I mean, its just freakish,” Ziegler said.

Right now, Tatman’s badge is in a temporary case with his photo, but Ziegler said they plan to put the picture and badge together in the Oberheim briefing room.

Ziegler also said Champaign Police Officer Tom Dodsworth’s badge was found on Ebay in 2012. He was killed in the line of duty in 1913.

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