Officer Jon Vargas lit a candle in memory of K-9 Nyx.

A photo of former K-9 officer Nyx sat in the front of Westminster Presbyterian Church, one of a long  line of officers who have died in the line of duty.

The Northern Illinois Police Memorial Service was held on Wednesday, May 15 honoring and remembering the lives and commitment of these brave heroes.

Police service dogs and their handlers graced the hallways, giving warm greetings to all who entered.

The Northern Illinois Multi-Jurisdictional Honor Guard gave the Presentation of Colors. Chills were created with the playing of Amazing Grace by Bagpiper Patrick Powers McClan Alpine.

All stood to recite the Pledge of Allegiance.

Mark Miller of Reformed Redeemer Church gave the invocation. “Those we honor here tonight sacrificed their lives to protect us, we honor the service and their willingness to run toward danger,” Miller said as he lifted all in prayer.

He added, “Their families grieve over their loved ones. Greater love no man has than to lay down his life for us.”

Pastor Gretchen Hammeke of Westminster Presbyterian Church gave a warm welcome.

Chief Deputy Coroner Matt Line read words from, “In the Line of Duty.”

Detective Lisa Hodges of Rockford Park District Police was joined by JoAnn Bross, Everett Bros and Andrea Artaga as the quartet perfectly harmonized in the  singing of “Evidence” by Josh Baldwin.

Sheriff Gary Caruana of the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department recited the message in “Champion of Justice,” written by Mark Gregory.

Becky Boyland, Director of Contemporary Worship and Digital Ministries, played guitar and inspired with clear vocals during the song “Heaven” by Phil Wickham.

Rockford Police Chief Carla Redd read a roll call of names of officers who were killed in the line of duty and the date of their end of watch. From the Rockford Police Department: Lorenzo Gillogy – Oct. 12, 1917. Frank Cichella – Feb. 25, 1927. Arthur H. Bassett – Sept. 2, 1927. Charles J. Williams – June 1, 1972. Randell A. Blank – Dec. 31, 1980. Kevin D. Rice – Aug. 3, 2001 and Jaimie Cox – Nov. 5, 2017.

Rockton Police Department: Arthur L. Weston- Oct. 27, 1977.

Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department – John Taylor – Nov. 11, 1856. Samuel Rotello, Sept. 11, 1936. John Germano – April 17, 1938. Howard Smith – Sept. 16, 1946. William Goldy – April 15, 1965 and Micheal E. Mayborne – March 15, 1974.

Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Deputy Raul Adauto – April 5, 1986. Illinois State Police – Brooke Jones Story-March 28, 2019.

Former Rockton Police Chief Arthur Weston died after a struggle with a suspect that led to his fatal heart attack.

Detective Kevin Rice was shot and killed while on duty.

Jaimie Cox lost his life during a traffic stop. Trooper Brooke Jones-Story was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer while she was conducting a traffic stop.

K-9 Nyx of the Rockford Police served faithfully before dying in the line of duty after being fatally shot on Sunday, Jan. 28 when she and her handler Officer Jon Vargas were investigating a domestic violence situation.

On March 29 Deputy Christina Musil was killed when her patrol car was struck by a commercial vehicle on Illinois south of Perry Road.

Following the reading of each name a candle was lit in memory of loved ones by either family members or an officer. The lighting was followed by placing a rose in a wreath. Anyone who has lost a relative in the Military had the option of lighting a candle in honor of that person.

The super talented Cortney Miller performed “In the Garden” by Brad Paisley. Miller is a friend of Rockford Police Officer Kim Quittshreiber.

Steven Johnson of St. Rita’s in Belvidere led everyone in the “Police Officers Prayer.” The prayer lifted officers and asked that they be granted safety, and protection and that they be united safely after their duty has ended.

Rylie Statler read words that she penned. Statler is the daughter of Investigator Katie Starlet of the Rockford Statler’s original piece  “Let Us Never Forget” made a significant impact.

Cortney Miller returned to sing a moving rendition of “I Can Only Imagine,” by Mercy Me.

Lisa Ditherer shared, “A Litany of Remembrance with the powerful words in “We Remember Them.”

Winnebago Deputy Coroner James Kirby’s singing of  “Scars in Heaven” stirred emotions. ”

Chaplain Kenneth Hendly of New Life Free Will Baptist Church closed with words of hope and wisdom.

The service ended with the Recession of Colors and the sound of Amazing grace on the bagpipes.

The 2024 Police Memorial Service was one of a row of events that happened during Police Memorial Week. Another event was a special breakfast where Rockton’s Police Department joined with other law enforcement to honor the reason behind the week on May 17.

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