Remembering Chief Jamie Evans
It’s been over 24 years since Chief Jamie Evans began her career in law enforcement with the Roscoe Police Department. At that time, she was one of two females in the department, under Chief Dick Lee.
Her road to becoming Roscoe’s chief of police started when she was 19. Evans worked as an Ogle County 911 dispatcher. After two years, she applied to the Roscoe Police Department and was hired. After being accepted, she attended the police academy for three months training, then back to Roscoe, where she began her career as a patrolman. Through the years, she gained experience in every department. She was promoted to sergeant, then detective. "I liked doing research and learning about law."
In 2008, Chief Evans was appointed Chief of Police by former Village President Dave Krienke. She became the first female officer in Winnebago County or Boone County to hold the position.
Under her leadership the Roscoe Police Department became a state-of-the-art law enforcement agency. Evans led the way in fighting for the construction of the new Village of Roscoe Police Department building in 2018, increased and modernized the patrol car fleet, updated equipment, and oversaw the arduous process of obtaining Tier One status through the Illinois Law Enforcement Accreditation Program (LEAP), the standard bearer of excellence in law enforcement departments in the state of Illinois. She considered earning the accreditation in 2020 the highlight of her career. “It was a long and arduous task.”
Chief Evans was diagnosed with breast cancer several years ago, and, through treatment, was pronounced cancer-free. Unfortunately, the cancer returned. Because of her health concerns, she officially retired as of April 1, 2023. She handed over the reins as chief to her colleague and friend Sam Hawley, who was deputy chief.
Upon her retirement, the Roscoe Police headquarters was renamed the Jamie Ray-Evans Public Safety Building.
“Leaving the department is bittersweet,” she said at the time. “I have loved every minute of my law enforcement career, especially as a detective and as chief. I would not be leaving if it were not for my health. I have no regrets.”
Retirement did not mean Evans was idle. Her bucket list included writing a book about her police work, traveling, and getting more deeply involved with charity work. She was the vice president of the Tommy Corral Memorial Foundation, a suicide prevention and grief counseling service, and was a volunteer for Justice for a Cure, a not for-profit agency based in Madison, WI, that promotes cancer research.
On December 8, 2023, Chief Evans passed away. Her battle with cancer came to an end.
Evans was born in 1973, the daughter of Linda and Jim Ray. She was raised in Byron, IL and lived in South Beloit, WI for several years.
She is survived by her husband of 25 years, Brian, their daughter Kaitlyn, parents Linda and Jim Ray and sister Lori Carlson (Troy).
Funeral arrangements are through Honquest Funeral Home, 11342 Main Street, Roscoe, IL.
Visitation will be from 2-5 p.m., Sunday, December 17, 2023 at Roscoe United Methodist Church, 10816 Main Street, Roscoe, IL. A funeral service at the church is at 1 p.m., Monday, December 18. A police escort will follow from the church to Honquest Family Funeral Home - Mulford Chapel, 4311 North Mulford, Loves Park, IL.
Carol Gustafson, Village of Roscoe president and friend to Chief Evans, said Jamie was a remarkable, woman-focused, determined, talented and passionate and talented person who loved being a police officer, serving in our community and advocating for what she called “the right things.” “For Jamie, the right things were protecting the vulnerable within our community and promoting mental health awareness,” says Gustafson.
“In her private life, she nurtured relationships. As a daughter she adored her parents, Jim and Linda, and looked forward to their dinners and trips together, pamper days filled with manicures and pedicures and shopping with her daughter Kaitlyn.”
In over 25 years of marriage, Jamie could count on the support and devotion of her husband, Brian. She relished good times with friends where she could let her hair down, display her quirky sense of humor, dress up, and dine out.
“I feel fortunate to have had Jamie as a friend and confidant,” Gustafson says. “Through therapeutic 'walks and talks' we shared our lives, solved problems, planned events, devised recipes and advised one another. I hold dear our relationship and will miss her.”
Village Administrator Scott Sanders said he was honored to have been able to work alongside Chief Evans. “Jamie has broken through countless barriers as she rose through the ranks of law enforcement. She will be greatly missed.”
Chief Sam Hawley came on board with the Roscoe Police Department and graduated from the police academy at the same time as Chief Evans. Chief Hawley was appointed to the role of chief following Chief Evans’s retirement.
“To try to put into words all of the thoughts and emotions that go into losing someone that you have known for 25 years is beyond difficult,” says Hawley. “It feels like they will always be there. It is incomprehensible when the time comes that they are not. There is a void that person used to fill, and now she is gone. Every member of the Roscoe Police Department feels the loss and are grieving, but all have daily reminders of Jamie and the legacy she left behind.”
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