Above / Members of the Naperville Police Department and Naperville Fire Department stood facing the Naperville Public Safety Memorial Plaza to honor Peace Officers Memorial Day on Mon., May 16, 2022.
Members of the community gathered for a Peace Officers Memorial Observance at 10AM today, May 16, “in memory of many… in honor of all.” Since 1962, the observance has been held annually as a tribute to law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty.
In 2021, 617 peace officers throughout the nation died in the line of duty, 11 of which were from Illinois. During his remarks, Naperville Police Chief Jason Arres noted that 475 of the fallen had died from COVID, 64 from gunfire, 61 from motor-vehicle-related interaction, and 17 from other causes.
In the late 1990s, a local group of citizens began raising private funds for the Naperville Public Safety Memorial Plaza where the National Police Week observance has occurred ever since 2001. The idea for the granite memorial, in partnership with funding from the City of Naperville, had come from NPD Capt. Jon Ripsky, now retired. (Click here for the history of NPD vehicles written by Ripsky and how they kept the community safe.)
The granite walls are engraved with names of past personnel. Space also is devoted to members who died while serving, such as Jon Ripsky’s father, Officer Michael F. C. Ripsky, as well as those who died in the line of duty. The group’s aim also was to recognize the difficult work of all first responders from the Naperville police and fire departments, showing appreciation for their risk and sacrifice during serious situations.
2022 National Police Week is May 15 to May 21
The 2022 observance was presented on the second day of National Police Week, slated every year from May 15 to May 21. Peace Officers Memorial Day is May 15. The Naperville ceremony included a solemn and appreciative welcome by Chief Arres.
In addition to noting that 617 police officers across the nation had died in 2021, Chief Arres gave special recognition to Naperville Police Officer Juan Rios, who died of cancer on January 1, 2021.
NPD Chaplin Mike Hurst gave the opening prayer, followed by remarks by Mayor Steve Chirico and a reflection by Chief Arres with a moment of silence.
The audience—approximately 60 individuals representing the NPD, NFD, Naperville City Council, City of Naperville, Naperville Police Foundation and local residents—also observed the Honor Guard Flag Ceremony, wreath tribute and a bagpipe performance of Amazing Grace by Commander Jason Stubler.
After the closing prayer, Chief Arres took a moment to read Proverbs 28, wise words that have touched his life.
Those meaningful words that convey a very personal, practical message about some of the deepest realities of life are presented here:
28 The wicked flee though no one pursues, but the righteous are as bold as a lion.
2 When a country is rebellious, it has many rulers, but a ruler with discernment and knowledge maintains order.
3 A rulera] who oppresses the poor is like a driving rain that leaves no crops.
4 Those who forsake instruction praise the wicked, but those who heed it resist them.
5 Evildoers do not understand what is right, but those who seek the Lord understand it fully.
6 Better the poor whose walk is blameless than the rich whose ways are perverse.
7 A discerning son heeds instruction, but a companion of gluttons disgraces his father.
8 Whoever increases wealth by taking interest or profit from the poor amasses it for another, who will be kind to the poor.
9 If anyone turns a deaf ear to my instruction, even their prayers are detestable.
10 Whoever leads the upright along an evil path will fall into their own trap, but the blameless will receive a good inheritance.
11 The rich are wise in their own eyes; one who is poor and discerning sees how deluded they are.
12 When the righteous triumph, there is great elation; but when the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding.
13 Whoever conceals their sins does not prosper, but the one who confesses and renounces them finds mercy.
14 Blessed is the one who always trembles before God, but whoever hardens their heart falls into trouble.
15 Like a roaring lion or a charging bear is a wicked ruler over a helpless people.
16 A tyrannical ruler practices extortion, but one who hates ill-gotten gain will enjoy a long reign.
17 Anyone tormented by the guilt of murder will seek refuge in the grave; let no one hold them back.
18 The one whose walk is blameless is kept safe, but the one whose ways are perverse will fall into the pit.b]
19 Those who work their land will have abundant food, but those who chase fantasies will have their fill of poverty.
20 A faithful person will be richly blessed, but one eager to get rich will not go unpunished.
21 To show partiality is not good—yet a person will do wrong for a piece of bread.
22 The stingy are eager to get rich and are unaware that poverty awaits them.
23 Whoever rebukes a person will in the end gain favor rather than one who has a flattering tongue.
24 Whoever robs their father or mother and says, “It’s not wrong,” is partner to one who destroys.
25 The greedy stir up conflict, but those who trust in the Lord will prosper.
26 Those who trust in themselves are fools, but those who walk in wisdom are kept safe.
27 Those who give to the poor will lack nothing, but those who close their eyes to them receive many curses.
28 When the wicked rise to power, people go into hiding; but when the wicked perish, the righteous thrive.
As the ceremony came to a close, PN walked away hoping always to respect and promote public safety, mindful that every day is a chance to express appreciation for the dedicated and honorable law enforcement professionals who serve to protect.
Support. Honor. Remember.
Update, May 20, 2022 / Jim Hoch from James Hoch Photography reports a great Citizens Appreciate Public Safety (CAPS) Awards event on May 19, 2022, at Meson Sabika. “Recipients were all well deserved!” Hoch said.
Photos of the event, complete with the program that lists all CAPS Award recipients, are featured at jameshochphotography.smugmug.com. Officer Courtney Madden received the George Pradel Award, given to a member of the NPD who displays a special style of public service and community spirit.