On May 25, 1969, East Moline Police responded to 1352 10th Avenue for a "routine" trouble call. Neighbors had called police and reported seeing Daniel Hougas outside with a BB gun threatening to shoot the neighbor children who were reportedly playing on his lawn.
Officer Richard Morton and Officer Robert Butcher spoke with Hougas attempting to calm him down and get him to surrender the BB gun he was holding. An instant later, Hougas pulled a .32 caliber revolver from his pocket and began firing at the policemen. Hougas reportedly fired 5 shots.
Patrolman Morton was struck in the chest during the exchange of gunfire but was able to return fire, along with his partner, and killed Hougas.
Officer Morton was transported to a local hospital where he died several hours later.
The National Law Enforcement Memorial
While attending the FBI National Academy Chief Moreno attended the National Law Enforcement Memorial in Washington, DC on October 17, 2007.
In this photo Chief Moreno is reading Officer Morton's name during the reading of the names of by agency's represented of those officers who payed the ultimate price.
Rewarding Retired Officer Bob Butcher
On December 19, 2007 retired East Moline Police Department Officer Bob Butcher was presented an award for his bravery on May 25, 1969 when Officer Richard Morton was killed in the line of duty.
The award was given to Butcher by the Quad City Council of Police Chiefs. In this photo Butcher is shown with Chief Moreno at the Annual East Moline Police Department Christmas Party on December 20, 2007 where Butcher was once again recognized for the award.
Officer Down - Killed in the Line of Duty
Police officers sometimes make the ultimate sacrifice while protecting the public and upholding the principles of law and order. According to the Indiana Police Memorial, since the 1st recorded police officer death in 1794, there have been over 14,000 law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty in the United States. Since 1900, Illinois ranks 4th on the list of deadliest states for law enforcement with 797 officers killed, behind California which was unfortunately 1st with 1176. For reference, there were 314,000 officers serving in 1970 and 740,000 serving in 1999.
According to the FBI, which maintains law enforcement officers killed in the line of duty statistics, the preliminary UCR report stated 57 officers were feloniously killed in 2007. In 2006, 48 officers were feloniously killed, with 46 of 48 killed with firearms.
From 1987 to 1996, nearly 700 officers were killed in the line of duty, another 697 killed in duty related accidents and another 600,000 assaulted while performing their duties.
Another 10 year study by the FBI found from 1994 to 2003, 616 officers were killed in the line of duty.
Decline of Law Enforcement Deaths
According to the Bureau of Justice Statistics, law enforcement officers killed since 1973 has been on the decline. In 1973, 134 officers were killed, the highest number in a single year since that time. In 1983 the figure dropped to 80 and again in 1993 it dropped to 70 officers killed. As of 2003, the number of officers killed was down to 52, which is still a sad reminder of the dangers of the law enforcement profession.