A Special Honor
A Naperville police officer who died in the line of duty over 90 years ago has received a special honor.
The Naperville Police Department recently held a ceremony for Chief Robert Worthel, unveiling a permanent reminder of his service and sacrifice.
The section of School Street between Washington and Ellsworth Streets will now be known as Chief Robert Worthel Memorial Way. It’s a way to bring his name, and memory, into the present.
“We’ve had such an influx of brand new officers come in our department over the last several years and I started to ask some of them, ‘hey are you aware of who Chief Robert Worthel is?’ And I got many answers that said, ‘no I don’t know who Chief Robert Worthel is.’ And I knew at that point we weren’t sharing his story or what it was about,” said Jason Stubler, police commander at the Naperville Police Department.
Chief Worthel’s Story
The location of the street dedication plays a part in that story. It was there, on September 24, 1927, that Worthel was killed in a motorcycle accident. At the time, he was tracking down suspects in a robbery.
His relatives took part in the special ceremony, holding duplicate street signs bearing his name, and speaking of his service.
“He died doing the job that he loved, and I know he’ll be watching all over you to keep you safe and protect you and serve the city of Naperville,” said Worthel’s granddaughter Elizabeth Michalec.
Saving a Hero’s Place
Saving a Hero’s Place, a nonprofit whose mission is to remember fallen officers, also donated a handmade chair in honor of Worthel. It will be placed in the Police Department’s roll call room in his memory.
Worthel is the only Naperville police officer ever to have died in the line of duty.
Naperville News 17’s Aysha Ashley Househ reports.