A first-of-its-kind police memorial is planned on a former park in downtown Springfield.

Groundbreaking was Thursday for the Illinois State Police Memorial Park, which will honor the 65 killed in the line of duty, plus those in the future, and their families.

“I am sure I speak for the past, present, and future ISP employees,” said state police director Leo Schmitz to donors, organizers, and families, “when I say thank you for all the generosity and all the work that you have done.”

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Sarah Deatherage of Highland represented survivors of those killed, saying she relives the nightmare daily.

“The officers at the door. The phone call. The there has been an accident message,” she said. “It's the beginning of a journey that no family chooses, wants, or could ever imagine happening to them – until it does. It's real. There's no escaping the grief that stays with you permanently.”

The progress of the memorial depends on fundraising.



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