DOWNTOWN — Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Gov. Bruce Rauner were among those who gathered at Soldier Field Tuesday evening to honor fallen police and ensure current officers that they would do everything in their powers to protect them.
Earlier in the day, Chicago Officer Eddie Jackson was added to the list of officers killed in the line of duty. On October 14, 1977, Jackson was working "a prostitute mission" in the 800 block of North Clark Street. As Jackson was driving a suspect to the station, he was nearly hit by another car.
Jackson argued with the driver, who pulled out a gun and shot Jackson in the head. He was paralyzed for more than 25 years until his death in 2003. In June of 2016, a forensic pathologist ruled that his cause of death was directly related to being shot in 1977.
“The motto is ‘we never forget,’ ” said CPD Chief Anthony Riccio of the Bureau of Organized Crime.
In the evening, the civic leaders were joined by Chicago Police Department officers at the 13th annual Gold Star Families reception and candlelight vigil. Put on by the Chicago Police Memorial Foundation, the event honors officers who were killed in the line of duty.
"The officers remembered tonight share a dedication to duty," Emanuel said. "They put our safety above their safety. Their families served with them."
Mayor Rahm Emanuel speaks at a vigil for fallen police officers. [DNAinfo/Joe Ward]
The city has lost 574 officers in the line of duty, according to the foundation. Names of each of those officers are etched on a memorial outside of Soldier Field.
This year's event had extra significance, officers said, because of events in Dallas and Baton Rouge, where eight officers were killed and 12 others wounded in attacks on police.
Gov. Bruce Rauner speaks at a vigil for fallen Chicago Police officers. [DNAinfo/Joe Ward]
Rauner said the fallen Chicago officers exemplified the best of the department, adding he would work to make sure officers are as safe as they can be while on duty.
"You have a hole in your heart that no one can fill," he said of the Gold Star families. "I personally pledge that I will do everything in my power to help keep you safe."