SPRINGFIELD, IL – Ten Illinois law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty were honored today during Illinois Police Officers Memorial Day ceremonies at the State Capitol in Springfield. Their names will be added to the 832 names of fallen officers already inscribed on the monument.
Seven of the officers being honored were killed during the past year. On June 6, Sergeant Myron Deckard, 72, Vermillion County Sheriff’s Office, was killed while transporting a prisoner. While en route, the prisoner was able to free himself from restraints and strike Sergeant Deckard in the head causing him to crash the squad car. The prisoner then gained control of Sergeant Deckard’s duty weapon and fatally shot the officer in the head. Deckard, a 30-year veteran with Vermillion County, was married and had one child..
The second officer killed in the line of duty was 51-year-old Illinois State Police (ISP) Master Sergeant Stanley W. Talbot. Talbot, a 26-year veteran with the ISP, was working at a roadside safety check in Rock Island during the early morning hours of June 23. Talbot was dragged to death by a vehicle which tried to flee through the check point. Talbot is survived by a wife and daughter, both Illinois State Police Troopers, and one son..
Officer Brian T. Strouse, 33, of the Chicago Police Department, was gunned down on June 30 while conducting a surveillance of gang activity. Strouse’s partner had numerous suspects stopped for a field interview, and as Strouse moved from his surveillance location to assist, he was shot once in the chest and once in the head. Strouse had been with the Department for six years..
The fourth officer to die in the line of duty was Rockford Police Department Detective Kevin D. Rice, Sr., 38, who had 14 years of law enforcement experience. On August 3, while off-duty, Rice was investigating two suspicious persons near his home. When the subjects approached Rice’s car, one pulled a handgun and fatally wounded the officer. Rice, who leaves behind a wife and three children, was assigned to the Gang Crimes Unit at the time of his death..
On August 19, Chicago Police Department Officer Eric D. Lee, 37, and his two partners were conducting a narcotics investigation when they observed a battery in progress and went to intervene. In their pursuit of the three subjects, one opened fire striking Lee in the head. Lee was transported to the hospital where he died from the wounds. Lee, who had been on the force for 10 years, was married and had one child.
Peoria Police Department Officer Donan James "Jim" Faulkner, 37, became involved in a foot chase of a suspicious subject shortly after midnight on September 20. After chasing the subject for a short distance, the subject wheeled around and fired several shots at Faulkner. The officer was wounded in the abdomen and fell to the ground. Faulkner’s assailant then proceeded to shoot him several more times in the head. The suspect was apprehended the next day, and the murder weapon was recovered from the banks of the Illinois River. Faulkner, who had been with the Peoria Police Department for seven years, is survived by his wife and five children. The last officer killed in the line of duty during 2001 was Sergeant Hector Silva, 36, of the Chicago Police Department. While participating in training exercises, Silva experienced stroke-like symptoms and was rushed to the hospital where emergency surgery was performed. Attempts to stabilize his condition were unsuccessful, and he died on October 2. Silva was in his 11th year with the Department and leaves behind his wife and two children.
The remaining three officers honored died in the line of duty between 1922 and 1945. On January 13,1922, Marshal William Petersen, 28, of the Winthrop Harbor Police Department, was pursuing a vehicle which had almost struck a couple of children. As he closed distance while on his motorcycle, he was shot and killed instantly.
Carbondale Police Department Officer Leonard "Lon" Sizemore, age 54, died on August 20, 1933, while attempting to arrest a suspect for disturbing the peace. The suspect resisted arrest, pulled away from the officer, grabbed a gun from his waistband, and shot Sizemore twice in the head. His assailant was shot and killed a short time later by Jackson County deputies.
On October 25, 1945, Officer Roy W. Costello, Chicago Police Department, died from injuries suffered in a motorcycle accident.
Thursday marked the 17th annual observance of Illinois Police Officers Memorial Day. A national day of remembrance, National Peace Officers Memorial Day, takes place May 15 of each year. During 2001, 145 United States police officers were killed (68 feloniously and 77 accidentally) in the line of duty. Seventy-one additional police officers are believed to have died on September 11 in the terrorist attack on the World Trade Center.