Sgt. Scott Miller was on the mind of dozens of supporters of the Caseyville Police Department who gathered Saturday as part of the Paint Illinois Blue campaign and the National Thank a Police Officer Day.
Miller, a longtime member of the Caseyville Police Department, died of an apparent suicide on Thursday.
Mary Moore, the wife of Caseyville Police Chief Frank Moore, wasn’t sure if the event would even proceed as scheduled in the wake Miller’s death.
But she received the blessing of Miller’s wife, Jamie, to continue with plans for the event at Lions Park.
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“He was a very good officer for many years,” Mary Moore said of Scott Miller. “He made a lot of good arrests.”
She choked up as she remembered a friend she has known since she was about 11. She described Miller as a “good father (and) husband” whose death is a “tragic loss.”
Miller’s body was found in his squad car near the intersection of Interstate 64 and Illinois 157. St. Clair County Coroner Rick Stone said Miller died from a gunshot wound to his head. He was 48.
“He was a good friend,” said Frank Moore, who added that Miller was known as a hard worker for the department.
Visitors to the Caseyville rally released bunches of blue balloons and they were treated to free hot dogs, snow cones and drinks. They were encouraged to wear blue to show support for police officers, who have been criticized in protests nationwide since the death of a teenager in Ferguson, Mo., last year. Former Ferguson Officer Darren Wilson was cleared by local and federal authorities in the shooting of Michael Brown.
Mary Moore said she organized the event “to show our appreciation and support for law enforcement” who serve in a dangerous line of work.
She said the number of officers who die in the line of duty is “devastating.”
The officers and their spouses never know for sure each day if the officer is going to survive that day, she said.
According to the national Officer Down Memorial Page, 91 officers have died in the line of duty this year. Gunfire was listed as the leading cause of death with 26, and vehicle accident was listed as the second-highest with 20.
Larry Raymer, a musician who brought his acoustic guitar along to play tunes at the event, said he was saddened to hear of Miller’s death, but he added that he believes Miller would have wanted the ceremony to be held.
Raymer’s father served as a Caseyville police officer and he remembers riding in a patrol car as a child.
“My heart goes out to each and every officer.”
Sgt. Scott Miller services
The Kassly Mortuary in Fairview Heights is handling services for Miller.
Visitation: Will be 3 to 8 p.m. Friday and 9 to 11 a.m. Saturday at the funeral home.
Funeral service: Will be at 11 a.m. at the funeral home.