Peace Officers Memorial Day 2019

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The Naperville Police Department honored fallen officers across the country and in our community on Peace Officers Memorial Day.

“I think it’s very important that we recognize not only the police officers who have given their lives but also their families. They have made the ultimate sacrifice with their lives for the safety and protection of others. And it’s so important that we continue this proud tradition, which began in 1962,” said NPD Chief Bob Marshall.

In Memory of Chief Worthel

The commemoration included a proclamation from Mayor Steve Chirico, making May 15, 2019 Peace Officers Memorial Day. They also held a moment of silence honoring Naperville’s only officer to be killed in the line of duty.

“We’re very fortunate in Naperville to have the wall behind me, which is remembrance of Chief Worthel who gave his life in the line of duty in 1927,” said NPD Deputy Chief Kathy Anderson, standing in front of the monument to former Naperville officers.

Barry Worthel, a great-nephew of former police chief Robert Worthel, attended the Naperville ceremony to pay tribute to his relative.

A Growing Concern

There have already been 42 deaths of U.S. police officers this year, four in Illinois. Gunfire and vehicle accidents remain the most common causes of death in the line of duty, but an emerging concern is suicide.

“One of the other traumas that have come up are the line of duty deaths via suicide,” said Anderson. “Those numbers weren’t counted up until a couple of years ago, and they’re still not fully counted. It really depends on the department giving those numbers. [Chief Marshall] had mentioned that in 2018 there’s 165 confirmed suicides. There’s probably a whole lot more that are unconfirmed at this point because of the stigma with suicide.”

DuPage County Honors the Fallen

At DuPage County’s Police and Fire Memorial the day before, Sheriff James Mendrick hosted a similar ceremony to honor fallen officers and firefighters.

“Every person whose name appears on this memorial, we honor and celebrate their courage, their loyalty and their extraordinary valor. You will not be forgotten,” said Mendrick.

Naperville News 17’s Casey Krajewski reports.