By Anne Eickstadt

Many people stopped to see the vehicles and displays that the local and state police brought to CherryVale Mall. VIPS helped attend the BPD/BC Sheriff’s booth.

In 1962, President Kennedy proclaimed May 15 as National Peace Officers Memorial Day and the week in which May 15 falls, as National Police Week. National Police Week pays special recognition to those law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in the line of duty for the safety and protection of others. Events throughout the week in northern Illinois include memorials, a breakfast, and a public display at CherryVale Mall.

Thursday morning, May 12 saw Police Memorial Week celebrating with a memorial service. However, the event most people were aware of was held at Cherryvale Mall where set-up began after nine that night. Numerous vehicles were placed on display throughout the mall from 25 departments across six different counties. There were 15 active displays during the weekend, K-9 demonstrations and bomb robot demonstrations. Law enforcement officers and volunteers fingerprinted children and offered face painting, games, and giveaways.

“We are here having fun and interacting with the public,” said Officer Tim Blankenship of the Belvidere Police Dept.

“This is Police Week,” said Volunteer In Police Service (VIPS) Jan Hinz. “We are here so people can see the different departments and learn what they do. They are able to talk to different police officers and sheriff’s deputies. They are able to interact with the police department and ask questions. They can vote for their favorite police department display by putting a donation into that department’s jar.”

“Police Memorial Week is a great way to honor all officers lost in the line of duty,” said Chief Deputy Perry Gay of the Boone County Sheriff’s Dept. “Thanks to all the volunteers who stepped up to make our participation possible. We rely on volunteers. They do so much for us. We really appreciate Cherry Valley Mall stepping up and allowing us space to celebrate Police Week each year.”

Lt. Daniel Watton of the Rockford Police Dept. is the president of the Northern Illinois multi-jurisdictional honor guard. “We are honoring officers from Northern Illinois who have been killed in the line of duty. All proceeds from the Community Choice Awards go back to the Northern Illinois Police Memorial Week.

“This year we are honoring Lt. Jamie Cox of the Rockford Police Dept. who was killed in the line of duty…

For complete article, pick up the May 23 Belvidere Republican.

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