ROCK ISLAND, Ill. — Law enforcement from the Quad Cities and the surrounding 50-mile radius came together to honor those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
The 2023 Quad Cities Law Enforcement Officers Memorial ceremony took place on May 7, remembering officers who died in the line of duty.
The memorial event started at the Adventure Christian Church in Davenport, where various speakers, video and music were featured.
A procession then drove from Davenport to the Rock Island County Justice Center. As the caravan came across the Centennial Bridge, they passed underneath a large flag suspended high in the air from two fire engines.
The ceremony included bagpipes, several speakers, a 21-gun salute and the playing of Taps.
"Today we recognize and show our gratitude to those who served throughout our country, but especially those here locally that sacrifice daily for our freedoms," Rock Island County Sheriff Darren Hart said.
The names of 49 fallen officers were said one by one, tracing back over a century of service.
The newest recognized officer was Knox County Sheriff's deputy Nicholas D. Weist, end of watch date April 29, 2022. Weist was setting up a spike trap to intercept a police pursuit, but was struck by the suspect's vehicle and died from his injuries.
Family members and fellow law enforcement of the fallen heroes also came up to a ceremonial wreath to attach flowers.
"To the family members who sit before us here today, your loved ones will never be forgotten nor the sacrifice they made diminished over time," Hart said.
For widow Kathy Engle, the ceremony was hard to stomach at first.
"In the morning of the ceremony I wake up, and I have the feeling of dread because it brings up many flashbacks of the day it happened," Engle said.
Kathy's husband was Hampton Police chief Terry Engle, end of watch date April 11, 2022. He got into a car accident while responding to a call and died from his injuries.
She said a day like today "is needed in the grieving process to help move forward. I love seeing all the community come out. It brings his name out again. It brings respect and things that he deserves."