SYCAMORE – DeKalb County Sheriff Roger Scott said every time he learns of another law enforcement officer’s death, it brings sadness to his heart because they put their lives on the line as he does.
Police officers and community members gathered Wednesday at the DeKalb County Courthouse to honor the 168 law enforcement officers who were killed in the line of duty in 2018. Of the 168, four served in Illinois.
“Each May we come together,” Scott, who has been sheriff for
34 years, said at the ceremony. “And too many times in between, we attend officers’ funerals to honor and remember those who dedicated their life to the very end, protecting other individuals in one way or another in the line of duty.”
The remembrance, which drew dozens, focused on the four Illinois officers who were killed in 2018, as well as Jacob Keltner, a McHenry County sheriff’s deputy who died March 7 while serving a warrant at a Rockford hotel with the U.S. Marshals Service.
The man accused of killing Keltner, Floyd E. Brown, 39, of Springfield, faces both federal and state charges, including multiple counts of murder and illegal possession of firearms.
Keltner was familiar to several people in the DeKalb County law enforcement community, Scott said, then went on to read a letter from Keltner’s wife, Becky.
“He was a tough guy, but a secret sweetheart,” Scott read. “Then I received that phone call every police officer’s spouse has nightmares about, only this time the nightmare was real. I find myself a 33-year-old widow with two young boys who no longer have their daddy.”
In the letter, Becky said she only wishes to live in a world where people can stop hating.
“I’m overwhelmed with the support that has been given from people everywhere,” Scott said, continuing from the letter. “I see you. You are good, just like my husband was.”
A performance of “Amazing Grace” by retired State Trooper Patrick Powers was followed by a rifle salute by officers from Northern Illinois University police. Sycamore High School students Ebad Rana and Drew Tone played taps.
The four Illinois law enforcement officers who died in 2018 were Chicago police officers.
Officers Eduardo Marmolejo and Conrad Charles Gary were killed Dec. 17 when they were hit by a train on the Metra tracks while chasing a shooting suspect.
Officer Samuel Jimenez was shot and killed Nov. 19 in the lobby of Mercy Hospital in Chicago after responding to a shots-fired call at the hospital.
Cmdr. Paul Bauer was shot and killed Feb. 13, 2018, outside the Thompson Center in Chicago after responding to a call of a suspect running from police.
“Officers know when they put on their uniform each and every day, they risk their lives for those they possibly don’t know,” said detective Ryan Hooper of the Sycamore Police Department. “Our families live each day with the knowledge that we can make that ultimate sacrifice, and we remember those that we honor that have laid down their lives.”