Ceremony will honor Illinois police officers killed in line of duty

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. – The annual Illinois Peace Officers Memorial Service to honor law enforcement officers killed in Illinois in the line of duty, including ten who died in 2021, will be held Thursday, May 5 at 11 a.m. at the Illinois Peace Officer Memorial sculpture on the Illinois State Capitol grounds in Springfield.


“This annual ceremony honors those who made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their communities,” said Illinois Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) State Lodge President Chris Southwood. “Every man and woman in this difficult and dangerous profession knows the risks they face every time they put on the badge. This memorial service is a testament to those risks and to the selfless courage of the officers who laid down their lives to keep us safe.”


The ten officers killed during 2021 include: Officer Gary Steven Hibbs, Chicago Heights Police Department, March 12; Senior Master Trooper Todd A. Hanneken, Illinois State Police, March 25; Lieutenant James J. Kouski Jr., Hometown Police Department, April 3; Officer Allen Serta Giacchetti, Cook County Sheriff’s Police, April 30; Officer Christopher Neil Oberheim,
Champaign Police Department, May 19; Officer Brian Russell Pierce Jr., Brooklyn Police Department, August 4; Officer Ella Grace French, Chicago Police Department, August 7; Officer Tyler Nathaniel Timmins, Pontoon Beach Police Department, October 26; Deputy Sean Ian Riley, Wayne County Sheriff’s Office, December 29; Sergeant Marlene R. Rittmanic,
Bradley Police Department, December 30.


In addition, Officer Joseph T. Cappello III of the Melrose Park Police Department, who died on April 24, 2020 will also be recognized. His name had not yet been officially included on the memorial.


The day’s observance will begin with the lineup of squad cars from around the state from 6:30 to 8:30 a.m. at the Illinois State Fairgrounds. The procession will depart the fairgrounds at 8:30 a.m. and arrive at the Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception, 524 E. Lawrence, for a memorial church service at 9:30 a.m. The procession will then travel to the State Capitol for the 11 a.m. ceremony. The ceremony will be held at the Illinois State Library across the street from the Capitol in case of inclement weather.


The Illinois FOP State Lodge is one of the founding organizations of the Illinois Peace Officers Memorial. The other founding organizations include the Illinois Association of Chiefs of Police, Illinois Police Association, Illinois Sheriff’s Association, and Police Benevolent and Protective Association. Supporting organizations include Blue Knights of Illinois, Illinois Gold Star Families, and Illinois Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS)


The Illinois Police Officers Memorial Committee was established in 1985. The monument in Springfield bears the names of the officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice while serving their communities. Every year on the first Thursday of May, they hold a ceremony to pay tribute to fallen officers and their families. For more information, visit www.illinoispolicememorial.org


The Fraternal Order of Police, founded in 1915, is the largest organization of sworn law enforcement officers in the United States. With a proud tradition of officers representing officers, the FOP is the most respected and most recognized police organization in the country. The Illinois FOP, chartered in 1963, is the second largest State Lodge, proudly representing more than 34,000 active duty and retired police officers – more than 10 percent of all FOP members nationwide.

Visit www.ilfop.org for more information.