The earliest known Kane County police officer killed in the line of duty was Constable Joseph Grant of the Geneva Police Department in August of 1885. The most recent was Sgt. Daniel Figgins of the St. Charles Police Department, who died while pursuing suspects on foot in April 2005.
In between those bookends are the names of 18 other Kane County officers, from places like Aurora and Batavia and Elgin, all of whom died while serving and protecting.
On Wednesday night, the midpoint of National Police Week, more than 100 officers from throughout the county gathered at Mooseheart’s House of God to pay tribute to the fallen.
Nationwide, 152 police officers were killed in the line of duty in 2010, with nine of those from Illinois. And though Kane County has not had an officer fatality in more than six years, officers paid respects to their colleagues Wednesday night, wherever they were from.
The annual service is organized by the Kane County Chiefs of Police Association. This year, Montgomery Police Chief Daniel Meyers was one of the leaders of the memorial committee, and he led the procession of officers into the church, as bagpipers played.
Kendall County Judge Clint Hull was the guest speaker. He talked about several situations in his judicial career that put him face-to-face with police officers, and how he came to understand what they go through every day.
“When I go to work, I’m going to the Third Street Courthouse (in Geneva),” Hull said to the officers. “Nothing scary there. I think about how it must be with you to walk out that front door, and not necessarily know what you’re going to run into that day."
Officers from each of Kane County’s departments lit a candle at the head of the church, and when the service ended, they filed outside for a 21-gun salute to the fallen. As the shots rang out, row upon row of police officers stood at attention and saluted.
“We are here to honor those 152 officers,” Hull said at the end of his speech. “We’re here to thank them for the sacrifice they’ve made, and thank their families for the sacrifice they’ve made, and we’re here to thank you.”