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Illinois Police Officers' Memorial Day Ceremony

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Press Release Date: May 3, 2001    || Archived October 3, 2002
SPRINGFIELD, IL - Five Illinois law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty were honored today at the Illinois Police Officers' Memorial Day ceremony held at the state capitol. Their names will be added to those of the 827 fallen officers already on the monument.
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Four of the officers honored were killed during the past year. On January 19, 2000, Edwards County Sheriff Oren E. Smith, 57, collapsed and died due to complications from carbon monoxide exposure. Smith had been involved with a rescue attempt at a residence where carbon monoxide fumes left one person dead and another hospitalized. A day and a half later, Smith suffered a fatal heart attack which was caused by blood clots resulting from the carbon monoxide exposure. He is survived by a wife and two children.
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The second officer killed was Sergeant Gregory M. Sears, 50, of the Hampshire Police Department. Sergeant Sears was ambushed while on patrol June 1, 2000, and died as result of gunshot wounds to the head. Sears had recently married. His alleged assailant is awaiting trial.
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Chicago Police Department Sergeant Alane Stoffregen, 50, drowned in Lake Michigan on June 2, 2000, while participating in a practice dive with fellow members of the Department's Marine Unit. After surfacing from the dive, Stoffregen lost consciousness before reaching the boat. Officers aided in removing her from the water and transporting her to shore. She was then rushed to the hospital where attempts to revive her were unsuccessful. Stoffregen was a 22-year veteran with the Chicago Police Department.
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The last officer to die in the line of duty during 2000 was Hamilton County Sheriff William Howard Warren, 52, who had 23 years of law enforcement experience. Warren had served as Hamilton County Sheriff since 1982 and was on patrol serving warrants on July 10, 2000, when his cruiser was struck head-on by an oncoming tanker truck which had crossed the center line of Illinois Route 142. Warren, the father of three children, was killed instantly.
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The remaining officer honored was Arthur W. Hill, Chicago Police Department, who died in the line of duty on August 11, 1979. Hill was acting as a back up for another officer's call for assistance regarding a fleeing robbery offender. A foot chase ensued, and after returning to his patrol car, Hill suffered a fatal heart attack. He was 56-years-old and left behind a wife and seven children.
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Thursday marked the 16th observance of Illinois Police Officers' Memorial Day. A national day of remembrance, National Peace Officers' Memorial Day, takes place May 15 each year. During 2000, 134 United States police officers were killed (51 feloniously and 83 accidentally) in the line of duty.

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