Press Release
March 2, 2010

Mayor Daley, Police Department Honor Memory of 11 Chicago Police Officers Who Died In The Performance Of Their Duty

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Mayor Richard M. Daley and Chicago Police department officials today added 11 stars to the Police Superintendent’s Honored Star Case, reserved for Chicago police officers who died in the performance of their duty.

There are now 476 stars in the case.

“This truly is a wall of heroes. And I want the families, friends and colleagues of these brave officers to know that the people of Chicago will never forget what they did for us.

“Whenever a police officer dies in the line of duty, we all share the pain. We know that these officers put their lives on the line every day of the year, so the rest of us can go about our own lives in safety,” Daley said at ceremonies held at police headquarters, 3510 South State St.

The five officers honored today died between 1853 and 1994.

“But it’s never too late to honor members of the Chicago Police Department who lost their lives in the service of their fellow human beings” Daley said.

“On behalf of all the residents Chicago, I want to express my deep gratitude and respect for the 11 officers we remember today. By retiring these stars we keep the memory of these men alive, we inspire future generations and we ensure that these brave officers will have an honored and lasting place in the proud history of the Chicago Police Department,” he said.

The officers honored during today’s ceremony are:

  • Constable James Quinn: On December 5, 1853, he died from injuries he received while serving arrest warrants.
  • Patrolman Neils Hansen: On February 18, 1871, he was accidentally shot and fatally wounded.
  • Officer James Keon: On December 1, 1878, he died from injuries received while raiding a gambling establishment.
  • Officer John Dempsey: On July 13, 1894, he was guarding a railroad crossing at 26th Street and Stewart Avenue when he was struck and fatally injured by a train.
  • Officer Thomas Mahoney: On December 31, 1914, he was struck and killed by a car as he was preparing to use a street call box to give his report to the Deering Police Station.
  • Officer John McGonigal: On November 19, 1923, he was killed when six barrels of confiscated grain alcohol exploded in the Warren Street station house.
  • Officer Luke Howe: On August 25, 1928 he was killed in a traffic accident while riding in a patrol wagon.
  • Detective Roy Carney: On April 18, 1958, he was killed attempting to disarm one of the gunmen in a tavern robbery.
  • Officer Melvin Cohen: On December 7, 1971, he was killed while riding his motorcycle in pursuit of a speeding motorist.
  • Officer George Bryja: On July 27, 1986, he died after pursuing burglars who had broken into his neighbor’s garage.
  • Officer Michael Robbins: On September 13, 2008, he died from complications from 11 gunshot wounds he had sustained in an incident while on duty in 1994.

The stars were eligible for retirement under guidelines established in 2005 by retired Police Superintendent Philip J. Cline. The new criteria, the same as those used by the International Association of Chiefs of Police, defines line of duty death as “the death of an active duty officer by criminal or accidental means during the course of performing police functions while on or off duty.”

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