5 new names added to CPD fallen officers memorial, including Officer Ella French

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Five more names were added to the Chicago Police Department memorial for fallen officers, including Officer Ella French.

CPD officers in formal dress attended the ceremony.

"Each one died doing a job they loved, serving a city they loved even more," said Phil Cline, president of the Chicago Police Memorial Fund.

Sgt. Clifford W. Martin, Sr., Officer Marco DiFranco, Officer Ronald Newman and Field Training Officer Titus Moore all died of COVID-19 in 2020. Officer Ella French was shot and killed during a traffic stop in Englewood last month.

One by one, the officers' families stepped forward to uncover their loved one's name, permanently etched on a wall among the fallen.

Officer DiFranco was the first Chicago police officer to die of the coronavirus at the beginning of the pandemic.

"They gave valuable contributes to the good of the city," Mayor Lori Lightfoot said at the ceremony. "They represent who we are as a people, our values, and we can never forget that."

The loss of 29-year-old French is still raw.

"I didn't know them personally," said Fraternal Order of Police President John Catanzara. "I know what it meant to put on a uniform and not know if you're going to come home."

For the officers left standing among it, the memorial space is a reminder of that reality, and the families of other officers who died in the line of duty understand the sharpness of grief.

"My father was a girl dad at heart," said Rebecca Marmalejo, who was 15 when her father was struck by a train chasing gunshots on the city's South Side days before Christmas 2018. "He wanted to make a difference. He wanted to give back to the community that raised him, and serve others, and help those that needed it the most."

The families left behind now carry out that mission, embracing the ever expanding community of gold star families.
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