Paul Echols has made it his mission to identify police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty in years gone by in Southern Illinois. His purpose is to ensure that their sacrifices are not lost to memory. He gathers information about the circumstances of their deaths and submits their stories for inclusion in state and national memorials. I have the privilege of taking the names of these officers and tracing their descendants, in hopes of finding living family members who might wish to know that their parent, grandparent or ancestor is being honored and remembered. Some then attend the memorial ceremonies, which are quite impressive.
These photos are of Constable Earl Dixon with his children and of the Police Memorial Ceremony in Springfield, Illinois in 2014 honoring Dixon and other officers who lost their lives. Constable Dixon lived in Mounds, Illinois and was killed in the line of duty in 1935, leaving a widow and five young children. I was able to find Mr. Dixon’s only surviving child, age 87. What a joy it was to speak with him and explain that his father’s sacrifice was remembered and he would be honored at the state and national level.
I am a retired police officer and now full-time criminal justice instructor. I have known Juli for many years and have always admired her support of crime victim rights. When I started researching historic cases of police officers killed in the line of duty (for nomination to the state and national memorials), I ran into the problem of trying to find the families of these fallen heroes. I reached out to Juli for her help. She immediately agreed to volunteer her time and expertise. Some of these officers were killed over 100 years ago, so it seemed like an impossible task. Amazingly, she was able to find relatives in most of these cases. The families are elated that their loved ones lost so long ago can now be honored and recognized for their sacrifice. Thanks Juli, on behalf of all these police families! (Paul Echols, 2015)