Macomb honors its fallen officers

On Monday Nov. 30, the Macomb Police Department held a wreath laying ceremony on the 85th anniversary of the slaying of three Macomb Police officers.

J. Edward “Opie” Whittlesey, Albert Links and Ernest E. “Cotton” Bowman were killed while transporting a burglary suspect to jail back on Nov. 29, 1930. The ceremony honored their service, along with Lt. Elwyn “Mac” McFadden who was injured on duty following an accident while on traffic control duty on March 25, 1989. McFadden later died from complication from his injuries on Jan. 2, 1994.

Friends and relatives of the slain police officers laid flowers on the memorial for fallen Macomb Police Officers.
Nicholas Stewart
Flowers are laid by friends and relatives of the fallen officers on the memorial outside the Macomb Police Department.

Macomb Police Chief Curt Barker spoke at the event and recognized the service of each officer.

“Today we memorialize four officers of the Macomb Police Department who lost their lives in the line of duty,” Barker said. “All four of these officers served honorably, and worked every day to keep citizens of Macomb safe.”

Following the ceremony, retired Macomb Police Lt. Larry Carlson spoke about his friend and co-worker Officer McFadden.

“I have a comment, it may not be appropriate, but McDonalds has nothing on us,” Carlson said. “We had the original Big Mac. He was our Big Mac. He was a good man.”

Retired Macomb Police Lt. Larry Carlson lays a flower in remembrance of his friend and co-worker Officer McFadden.
Nicholas Stewart
Retired Macomb Police Lt. Larry Carlson lays a flower in remembrance of his friend and co-worker Officer McFadden. A wreath was also placed next to the memorial by Macomb Police Officers decorated with blue flowers and a ribbon.

Barker said it is important to honor the fallen officers.

“We have to ensure that the family members out there know that their loved ones will never be forgotten,” Barker said.

The memorial service will become a yearly tradition, although it will now be held in the month of May during Police Memorial Week.

According to Barker, 116 officers have been killed while on duty so far in 2015 across the United States. Barker asked his officers to “please remain vigilant.” Barker then addressed the relatives of the slain officers in attendance.

“Families, thank you for sharing your loved ones with us,” Barker said. “Rest assured they will not be forgotten. May God bless all public safety protectors.”

Officers from the Macomb Police Department and Western Illinois University's Office of Public Safety salute in honor to the fallen Macomb Police Officers during the playing of "taps."
Nicholas Stewart
Officers from the Macomb Police Department and Western Illinois University’s Office of Public Safety salute in honor to the fallen Macomb Police Officers during the playing of “taps.”