SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (WCIA) — U. S. Attorney John Milhiser recognized the service and sacrifice of local, state and federal police officers on the occasion of National Police Week, which is being observed May 10 – 16. In the Central District of Illinois, more than 300 municipal police departments, 46 county sheriff’s offices, Illinois State Police, and federal agents serve and protect more than 2.2 million citizens every day.
“During Police Week, we pause to reflect and honor police officers, who devote their careers to protecting us and our communities,” said Milhiser. “These men and women serve on the front line every day, not only to keep peace and enforce our laws, but also to protect our homes and communities from drugs, gun violence, child predators, domestic violence, and fraud. All of our law enforcement partners serve a vital role in ensuring victims receive the justice they deserve.”
“We ask much of our police, who work alongside fellow first responders, to confront new and emerging threats, including those related to the COVID-19 pandemic; active shooters, gun and gang violence; addiction; the use of technology to exploit children and the elderly; and the unfortunate plight of those who live in poverty, on the streets, often with serious, untreated mental and physical health problems.”
In 1962, President Kennedy issued the first proclamation for Peace Officers Memorial Day and National Police Week to remember and honor law enforcement officers for their service and sacrifices. Peace Officers Memorial Day, which every year falls on May 15, specifically honors law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty.
Within the past year, two Central Illinois law enforcement officers have been killed in the line of duty: Fulton County Deputy Sheriff Troy Chisum, 39, who was shot and killed June 25, 2019, while responding to a battery and disturbance call; and Hampton, Ill., Police Chief Terry A. Engle, 57, who died April 11, 2020, in a single-vehicle crash as he was responding to a 911 call for service.
“As these selfless professionals pledge to serve and protect, they do so with the understanding that the risk of death and disabling injuries in the line of duty is real. They do it anyway, and it is therefore fitting that we honor and express our gratitude to these men and women for their service and sacrifice,” said Milhiser.
Wednesday, May 13, the names of the fallen officers who have been added to the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, D.C., will be read during the annual candlelight vigil. This year, because of the suspension of large public gatherings, the vigil will be livestreamed at 7 pm (CDT). The online event may be viewed at https://www.youtube.com/user/TheNLEOME