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Naperville
Thursday, May 23, 2024

Naperville community gathers for Peace Officers Memorial Observance

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Members of the community gathered for a Peace Officers Memorial Observance at 10AM today, May 15, “in memory of many… in honor of all.” Since 1962, when President John F. Kennedy signed a proclamation designating May 15 as “Peace Officers Memorial Day,” the public observance has been held annually in conjunction with National Police Week as a tribute to law enforcement officers killed or disabled in the line of duty. 

2024 National Police Week runs May 12 to May 18

The 2024 Peace Officers Memorial Observance was presented on the fourth day of National Police Week at the Naperville Public Safety Center. The Naperville ceremony remembers law enforcement officers nationwide who have died in the line of duty while recognizing the officers who continue to serve their communities.

The observance included a solemn and appreciative welcome by Police Chief Jason Arres.

Officer Katie Moore beautifully and deliberately sang the National Anthem.

After the opening prayer by NDP Chaplain Pastor Dave King, Mayor Scott Wehrli provided heartfelt remarks, recounting a time in 1992 that he’d attended the funeral of a young West Chicago police officer who had been killed in the line of duty. Mayor Wehrli, also a young police officer at the time, recalled how Patrolman Michael Browning had been run down by a car after responding to a burglary at an automobile dealership. Mayor noted the first funeral of a police officer he had attended with its many ceremonial protocols is one he’ll never forget.

Photos of today’s observance are in no particular order.

Naperville Public Safety Memorial Plaza

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. Ripsky served as a sworn officer for 43 years, rising through the ranks from 1962 until his retirement as a Captain in 2003. Ripsky died at age 81 in 2022.

(Click here for the history of NPD vehicles written by Ripsky and how they kept the community safe.)

The granite walls of the memorial 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 individuals who died in the line of duty. The group’s aim always has been 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.

National Police Week Events 

National Police Week also will be remembered during the annual Citizens Appreciate Public Safety (CAPS) Dinner, a time when the exemplary work of Naperville police personnel is recognized by the community. The dinner is set to begin at 6PM Thurs., May 16, hosted by Meson Sabika. The 2024 CAPS Dinner for the NPD is sold out.

For information about future CAPS events, visit www.napervillecaps.com.

Update, May 16, 2024 / During the Police Department Awards Ceremony presented by Citizens Appreciate Public Safety (CAPS), the George Pradel Awards recognized Sergeant Richard Arsenault, Sergeant David Pastrick and Officer Joshua Christenson.

The storied account about three members of the Naperville Police Department represents devoted teamwork that spread from Naperville to Chicago and throughout Indiana with help from the FBI.
 
Rather than a story in a newspaper, the example that received George Pradel Awards likely is more suited as a chapter representing the dedication that exudes from longstanding police officers who head to work every day not knowing what they’ll encounter. They just aim to do their job to protect us with “integrity, service and professionalism.”
 
Fact is, all Department Awards and CAPS Awards presented are reminders of the exemplary service this community receives from its fire and police departments—and that some investigations take longer to solve than others. Stay tuned.
 
 
Give ’em a wave! (PN Photo May 17, 2023)

Cop on a Rooftop is scheduled from 5AM to 11AM on Fri., May 17. The annual event is set to be held at Dunkin’, 1580 W. Ogden Ave. Cop on a Rooftop is an annual fundraiser with participation from the Naperville Police Department to benefit athletes in Special Olympics Illinois. Individuals who make a donation to the Torch Run will receive a coupon for a free donut.

Stop by participating Dunkin locations throughout Illinois to find out other ways to support the annual benefit for Special Olympics Illinois.

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PN Editor
PN Editor
An editor is someone who prepares content for publishing. It entered English, the American Language, via French. Its modern sense for newspapers has been around since about 1800.
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