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Fallen officers honored by families, law enforcement

The Law Enforcement Ecumenical Memorial Service paid tribute to fallen officers Wednesday night.
Published: May. 11, 2022 at 10:56 PM CDT
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ROCKFORD, Ill. (WIFR) - “We’ve been here our whole lives, he chose to be a Rockford cop,” said Elmer Rice. “He probably could have been a cop anywhere in the country but chose Rockford.”

Elmer Rice is the younger brother of Rockford Police Officer Kevin Rice. After 14 years of dedicated work in the force, Kevin was shot and killed in 2001.

He died at the age of 38, leaving three children behind.

“His youngest son was just two months old,” said Elmer. “His daughter was 10 years old, and his oldest son was 18.”

Elmer says Kevin had a great sense of humor and was incredibly passionate about serving his community. So much so, one of his sons took after him to become an officer in Houston.

“You learn different coping mechanisms and get a little stronger,” said Elmer. “Learn how to cope with things a little better, but the pain is always there.”

But events like Wednesday’s night Law Enforcement Ecumenical Memorial Service gives family members of fallen officers, like Elmer, time to come together and honor heroes that gave the ultimate sacrifice.

“It was a life taken away,” said a Rockford Park District police detective. “And when you take away someone’s life, more times than not, they weren’t ready to leave yet.”

The families also weren’t ready to see them go. That’s why Hodges says it’s so important that the community wraps their arms around the loved ones of those who died in the line of duty.

“We don’t want them to be forgotten,” said Hodges.

Rice also says the work of a police officer does is incredibly difficult; and can be damaging to their mental health. He says it’s important for the community to pay them respect.

The Northern Illinois Police Memorial Week Committee will also have annual law enforcement displays at Cherryvale Mall this weekend, starting Friday.

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