This past Thursday was the Illinois Police Memorial Day. Every year, services are held in Springfield to honor those who paid the ultimate sacrifice with their lives to protect their communities. It is a very moving and powerful show of solidarity as Officers from all over the state come to Springfield in their squad cars and meet at the State Fairgrounds. From there, we have a line of several hundred Police cars with their lights on move one by one downtown to a church for the service. After the service, the squads once again move to the Capitol building where we remember those we lost outside around the Police Memorial. This year we met inside of the Library due to the rain.
This past week we encouraged people to install blue lights as a way to honor Police Officers everywhere. It is not easy being a Police Officer these days. It is normal to now have kids flip us their middle finger as we drive by, some will yell names at us, others will fight us or even try to hurt us. And then as we are being yelled at and called every name you can think of, a video camera will come out with the hopes of getting a reaction out of you so they can have their moment of fame on the internet. We see the number of Officers killed and wounded in the line of duty increasing every year.
So it goes without saying…we appreciate seeing your support. We don’t look for a pat on the back, an award, or really anything special. But, when you light a blue light, it shows us you care and that you appreciate us.
There are bad apples in every profession. Statistics show the number of Officers who disgrace the badge and oath is less than 1%. There are Police Officers everywhere who truly care about safety of everyone, and really care about the communities they serve. I know MANY Officers in Tazewell County, and I can tell you we have some amazing Men and Women that wear the badge proudly every day!
Please keep my colleagues in your thoughts and prayers as they head out for their daily tours. Pray that we never have to add their name to the Memorial in Springfield.