SYCAMORE – Area police officers and community members gathered Friday at the DeKalb County Courthouse to honor law enforcement officers who died in the line of duty over the past year.
Police officials who spoke during Friday’s ceremony said 617 law enforcement officers across the nation were killed while on duty in 2021. Of those, 11 served in Illinois.
“We all know the risk that we face and the risk we must take to serve our communities,” said Police Detective Ryan Hooper of the Sycamore Police Department.
The memorial service focused on the 11 Illinois officers who were killed in 2021: officer Ella French of the Chicago Police Department; State Trooper Todd Hanneken of the Illinois State Police; Police Sgt Marlene Rittmanic of the Bradley Police Department; officer Tyler Timmins of the Pontoon Beach Police Department; officer Gary Hibbs of the Chicago Heights Police Department; officer Allen Giacchetti of the Cook County Sheriff’s Office; Police Lt. James Kouski Jr. of the Hometown Police Department; officer Nicholas Kozak of the Forest Park Police Department; Deputy Sheriff Sean Riley of the Wayne County Sheriff’s Office; officer Brian Pierce Jr. of the Brooklyn Police Department; and officer Christopher Oberheim of the Champaign Police Department.
“Each of us recognize that we could be called upon to make the ultimate sacrifice, and yet every day approximately 800,000 officers answer the call to serve their community,” Hooper said.
State Rep. Jeff Keicher, R-Sycamore, called on those in attendance to remember that officers are impacted by the work they are called to do.
“We need to remember that the men and women we call to do this duty are husbands, fathers, sons, daughters, wives of all of us,” Keicher said. “But we need to know and we need to remember today that there are some that don’t return.”
Hooper stress the important of the legacy left behind.
“We will forever remember all of our fallen brothers and sisters for how they have lived, for how they have served and for how they have sacrificed,” said Hooper.