QCA Community Supports Police, Revamping Police Memorial

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The Quad Cities community came together Friday night for an Officer Appreciation dinner in Eldridge, to say thank you to those who protect and serve us, and to help raise money for upgrades to the memorial site in Rock Island.

"Just to show support for the officers that are watching over us," said Paula Walker, a Clinton resident who attended the dinner.

"It's good to see the community support," added another attendee, Matt Walker, a reserve deputy from Clinton.

Hundreds of people turned out for the Officer Appreciation event Friday evening at the Eldridge community center.

"Police departments never close. They're open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, on weekends, the holidays, and it's just nice to know that there's a sense of appreciation that comes from the community, our neighbors, our friends," said Moline Police Sgt. Terry Garmon, Immediate Past President for Quad Cities Law Enforcement Officers Memorial organization.

The event was a fundraiser for the Quad Cities Law Enforcement Officers Memorial organization, to help with things like assisting the families of fallen officers and maintaining - and revamping - the memorial outside the Rock Island County Justice Center.

The names of the 46 QCA police officers killed in the line of duty since 1869 are immortalized in stone on that memorial.

"If we're going to honor those that have passed away, it's only appropriate that we do it right," Sgt. Garmon said.

Officials say, eventually, they'd like to see the memorial in Rock Island become an interactive exhibit, with touch screens where community members can learn more about each officer's story.

But for now, the plans are more simple, including improvements like landscaping and paving, and expanding the memorial site.

"When we maintain the memorial, it just shows that we have a degree of pride in our community," Sgt. Garmon explained.

And, while they don't have any cost estimates for the project at this point, every bit raised on Friday night can make a big difference for the future of the memorial in Rock Island.

It will also help support the rolling memorial in the future. The custom squad car, honoring fallen officers, is brought out at outreach events and parades across the area throughout the year.

"It's a good way for us to take the message to people," said Sgt. Garmon.

The message from Friday night's dinner is clear, too:

"This is a chance for the public to say thank you for everybody and all that they do," said Darrell Paul, a Davenport resident who attended to honor his two sons who are Bettendorf Police officers.

The event also helped raise money for the Quad Cities Law Enforcement Officers Memorial's annual memorial service.

This year's service will be held next Sunday, May 4, at ?Bethany Baptist Church in Moline.

It will begin with a church service at 1:30 p.m., followed by a procession to the memorial site at the Justice Center, and a ceremony and wreath-laying service there.

The event is open to the public, and all QCA residents are invited to attend.



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