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SPRINGFIELD – Earlier today, Illinois State Police (ISP) Officials joined police officers from law enforcement agencies across the state for the 31st Annual Illinois Police Officers Memorial Ceremony. ISP Director Leo Schmitz and many other ISP officers were present at the ceremony to show support for family and friends and to remember those officers who gave the ultimate sacrifice.

“I’m proud to see so many members of the Illinois State Police and officers from agencies across the state participating in the Annual Illinois Police Officers Memorial Day,” said ISP Director Leo Schmitz. “I am humbled to share in a tradition that honors and remembers the brave men and women of the Illinois State Police, as well as every police officer who serves with courage and bravery every day,” continued Director Schmitz.

Annually, on the first Thursday in May, law enforcement officials and police officers from across the state of Illinois gather to honor law enforcement officers who have given their lives in the performance of their duty. The day begins with an interfaith service and is followed by a procession to the West Lawn of the State Capitol were a monument to fallen officers sits. Once at the State Capitol, a formal ceremony is held to honor those who have served and given their life protecting others.

This year’s honorees included Tazewell County Deputy Sheriff Craig Whisen and McHenry County Deputy Sheriff Dwight Maness. Historic Honorees include Officers William Feeley, Bartholomew Cavanaugh and Austin Fitch of the Chicago Police Department; Constable Earl Dixon of the Mounds Police Department; Sergeant Thomas Reed of the Paris Police Department; and Deputy Lemont Reid of the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department.

Hundreds of police officers and leaders from civic, religious and law enforcement groups joined elected officials and Director Schmitz at the Police Officers Memorial Ceremony. More than 25 Honor Guards from police departments across the state were also present to salute their fallen comrades.

Along with participating in the Police Officers Memorial, the ISP again teamed up with Be the Match, a nonprofit organization operated by the National Marrow Donor Program, to sponsor

a bone marrow drive. The ISP and Be the Match were present inside the Illinois State Capitol Building during most of the day to encourage people to be potential donors.