Illinois State Police are investigating after a Mascoutah police officer died in his home Saturday night, according to Mascoutah Police Chief Scott Waldrup.
Waldrup announced Lt. Kevin McGinnis’ death in a post to the department’s Facebook page Sunday.
“It is with sad hearts that the Mascoutah Police Department is recovering from the passing of Lt. Kevin McGinnis,” Waldrup wrote.
In an interview, Waldrup said the circumstances of McGinnis’ death are under investigation. Illinois State Police Capt. Timothy Tyler confirmed that there is an investigation.
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McGinnis had more than 40 years experience as a police officer, according to Waldrup. He said McGinnis worked in the Cahokia Police Department, the St. Clair County Sheriff’s Department and the Mascoutah Police Department.
“His passing is a tremendous loss to the law enforcement community,” Waldrup said. “... You just can’t replace a man like Kevin McGinnis.”
He remembers McGinnis’ enthusiasm for events like National Night Out, when residents could meet the police officers in their community. Waldrup said McGinnis helped bring the event to Mascoutah for the first time last year.
“As soon as I brought up the idea, he was on board and jumped in with two feet,” Waldrup said. “He thought it was a fantastic way of working with the community.”
The next National Night Out for Mascoutah was scheduled for Tuesday.
At a candlelight vigil for McGinnis on Sunday night, friends, family and members of the community remembered him as an outgoing man who was “always seen with a smile,” as one speaker said.
At least 150 people came to the vigil, some wearing their police uniforms or T-shirts stating support for Mascoutah Police. Waldrup said at the vigil that this was a testament to the closeness of the community.
“The world’s a little less safe” without McGinnis in it, he said. “Sunny days are a little dimmer and our hearts are sadder at his loss.”