Rockton Police officer Penny Cure looks back at her 20 year career


Officer Penny Cure retired from her work at Hononegah on Dec. 20, 2023. Photo: Rockton Police

Rockton Police officer Penny Cure has retired after 20 years of dedicated service to the community. Her last day was Dec. 20, 2023.

In 2008, she was named the Rockton Lions Club and American Legion Illinois Officer of the Year.

Not long after that, she became the school resource officer (SRO) at Hononegah Community High School (HCHS). 

Rockton Police officer Emily Harrison is the new SRO at Hononegah.

During her tenure, Cure planned and executed many K9 searches at HCHS in an effort to prevent drugs from entering the school.

Cure was always interested in law enforcement; however, she did not pursue that career until 2003, after ten years in a "whole different career."

“My husband had been a police officer for two years at that point. I was always so interested to hear about his day and what he did. He encouraged me to pursue the same career.”

Officer Cure was sworn in June 2003. 

She was a member of the Rockton Police's A.L.i.C.E Team, which teaches civilians, school staff and students how to respond to an active intruder situation.

Cure also was a bike officer, a breath alcohol operator, an evidence officer and a juvenile officer.

She became a school resource officer (SRO) for the Rockton School District in 2007. In addition, she began teaching D.A.R.E. to the 5th graders at Whitman Post Elementary. A few years into the 5th grade program, Cure began teaching 7th grade D.A.R.E. at Stephen Mack Middle School.

Cure says that throughout her career, it was clear she was best suited for community policing.

Cure reflects, “Maybe it was because I was a mom, had a whole 'normal' career prior, and was probably older than your average initial hire, but I just always felt I was able to serve the community in the best way possible in that role.”

Cure went beyond her duties as an officer to further serve the community through educational and outreach means.

Cure teamed up with Rockton Police detective Kiza Davies to teach the public through safety seminars. She was very active in National Night Out events.

Cure also took part in other community oriented events. “The numerous bike rodeos, Ro/Ro Expos, police memorial weeks, Polar Plunges, car seat safety checks, and other community outreach presentations for 50 North or with preschools were personally gratifying to me. Whether I only participated in them, or actually organized them, I always received that positive feedback and support from the citizens and sponsors.”

On June 20, 2023, Cure was recognized for 20 years of service to the Rockton Police Department, along with now Deputy Chief of Police Justin Jobst.

Cure said, “To me, the community’s positive feedback and affirmation mattered the most... As a law enforcement officer, I worked for the community, and I tried to do it for the community.”

“Nothing I may have been able to personally individually accomplish in this career would have provided the gratification as making a difference in the students and families lives. It wasn’t about me. It was about them.”

Cure was born in Chicago and grew up in Oak Forest, Illinois.

“I’ve been blessed since the day I was born with a supportive loving family,” Cure said. “My family has always been my biggest supporters.”

Cure was a competitive athlete and attended Robert Morris College. At the Illinois State Police Academy she was awarded the PT Award in 2003, as the most physically fit recruit in her class.

“I learned very young to always try my best, and as long as I did that, I should be happy with the outcome of what I was trying.”

“I was always confident about myself, in that I did not look to other people for affirmation that I was good enough. I’m not perfect, but I’ve always been fair, honest, loyal with good character and integrity. My parents taught me 'if people don’t like you for who you are, it’s their loss.' I’ve lived by that, and have tried to raise my own children that way. I tried my best to encourage the students I’ve taught or come in contact with over the years to do the same,” Cure said.

At the Hononegah Community High School Board of Education meeting on Dec. 20, principal Chad Dougherty said, “Officer Penny Cure retired today. She directed traffic on her last day in the midst of an accident.”

“When I was new here, she had a warm face. She was always level headed, and a calm force.”

HCHS President Dave Kurlinkus added, “She was a valuable member of the Hononegah family. She will be missed.”

Cure said, “I’ve had a blessed career and loved what I did. I hope anyone who knows me will remember me and know I truly cared about this community and put my heart into the job. I will miss all aspects of it, but will be happy being able to be the caretaker of my family full time once again.” 

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I remember telling my high-schooler more than once that you are the BEST traffic director I have EVER seen. It always put me at ease -in congested traffic- knowing exactly what you wanted me to do when arriving at the school to pick up our student. You conveyed a sense of safety reaching further than you will probably ever know.

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