Peoria Police Chief Jerry Mitchell says the main purpose of the ceremony is to never forget the 15 police officers who died in the line of duty since the late 1800s. He says the annual event carries more meaning given the rise in nationwide tensions between protesters and law enforcement:
“I think it’s a reminder of what’s going on around the country, and the officers they read and they watch the news and they stay abreast of these things and it is a concern of theirs.”
Mitchell says they’ve added a new name to the list of fallen officers. Theophil Seyller, was killed following an arrest attempt in 1894 and is thought to be Peoria’s first sworn officer to be killed in the line of duty.