Honoring and remembering those who have lost their lives in the line of duty: 2024 Police Memorial Service


The Multi-Jurisdictional Honor Guard entered with the sounds of bagpipes playing "Amazing Grace" at the Northern Illinois Police Memorial Service on Wednesday, May 15, 2024 at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Rockford.

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

The Northern Illinois Police Memorial Service, held on Wednesday, May 15, 2024 honored and remembered the lives and dedication of officers who have died in the line of duty. The service took place at Westminster Presbyterian Church in Rockford.

Police service dogs and their handlers graced the hallways, warmly greeting all who entered.

The Northern Illinois Multi-Jurisdictional Honor Guard gave the presentation of colors. Bagpiper Patrick Powers Mclan played Amazing Grace, creating chills among those listening.

All attendees 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 Bross, and Andrea Artaga as the quartet 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 at Westminster Presbyterian Church, played guitar and inspired the audience with clear vocals during the song Heaven Song by Phil Wickham.

Rockford Police Chief Carla Redd read a roll call of names of officers killed in the line of duty and the date of their end of watch.

  • Former Rockton Police Chief Arthur Weston died after a struggle with a suspect that led to his fatal heart attack.
  • Rockford Detective Kevin Rice was shot and killed while on duty.
  • Patrol Officer Jaimie Cox of Roscoe lost his life during a traffic stop.
  • State Trooper Brooke Jones-Story was struck and killed by a tractor-trailer while she was conducting a traffic stop near Freeport
  • K-9 Nyx of the Rockford Police served faithfully before dying in the line of duty after being fatally shot on Sunday, January 28, when she and her handler, Officer Jon Vargas, were investigating a domestic violence situation.
  • A commercial vehicle struck and killed DeKalb County Deputy Sheriff Christina Musil on March 29 along Illinois Route 23, south of Perry Road.

Rockford Police Department

Rockton Police Department

Winnebago County Sheriff's Department

Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department

Illinois State Police

DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office

    Following the reading of each name, a candle was lit in memory of loved ones by 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 to honor that person.

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

    Steven Johnson of St. Rita's Catholic Church in Belvidere led everyone in the Police Officers Prayer. The prayer lifted officers and requested they be granted safety and protection and united safely after their duty ended.

    Rylie Statler read words that she penned. Statler's original piece, Let Us Never Forget, significantly impacted the audience. She is the daughter of Investigator Katie Starlet of the Rockford Police department.

    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 stirred emotions with his singing of Scars in Heaven.

    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 series of events during Police Memorial Week. Another was a special breakfast on May 17, at which Rockton's police department joined with other law enforcement to honor the reason behind the week.

    The gatherings serve as a reminder of the immense sacrifices made by these brave individuals and the enduring impact of their dedication to keeping communities safe.

    Officer Jon Vargas held a photo in memory of K-9 Nyx from the Rockford Police Department, who died in the line of duty on Sunday, January 28, 2024.
    The family of Kevin Rice honored his memory by lighting a candle in his name. Detective Kevin D. Rice was shot and killed by a 19-year-old gang member while on duty on August 3, 2001.
    Becky Boyland, Director of Contemporary Worship and Digital Ministries, performed "Heaven Song" with vocals and guitar accompaniment.
    Deputy Coroner James Kirby stirred emotions with his rendition of "Scars in Heaven."
    Officer Jon Vargas lit a candle in memory of K-9 Nyx.
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