Beloit police reconsider dropping squad car memorials

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Dan Plutchak | January 2, 2014

The Beloit Police Department will reconsider its decision to replace a decal on its squad cars that has long honored an officer killed in the line of duty.

Following a strong reaction by some in the community, Beloit Police Chief Norm Jacobs released a statement on the department's Facebook page that he has asked the Vehicle Changeover Committee to review the decision for the next set of squad cars that will arrive in the spring.

The decal, which reads "In memory of #23," has adorned the back of Beloit Police Department squad cars since 2001.

The phrase is in memory of officer Peter Larsen, whose badge number was 23.

Larsen was shot in the head in 1985 while responding to a report of a kidnapping. He remained in a semi-comatose state for 14 years until he died in 1998.

On the newest squad cars, the phrase has been replaced with trim called a thin blue line, designed to represent all officers who died.

"There are at least two, possibly four Beloit Law Enforcement Officers who died in relation to their duty over the many years of the department. The large blue line around the squads represents present and past officer sacrifice," Jacobs wrote in the statement.

Some online posters have suggested both a blue line and the number 23 be put on the squads.

"In any case, this department does listen to the public," Jacobs wrote. "I will send the idea back to our vehicle changeover committee for their further, thoughtful consideration of including the decal with the new design."

The department holds a memorial for Larsen each year in May in the lobby of the police department.

"We do not forget. I hope more of you will consider attending the memorial in May of 2014," Jacobs wrote.

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