Champaign council makes honorary streets for fallen employees permanent

Champaign council makes honorary streets for fallen employees permanent

CHAMPAIGN — The Champaign Police Department badge carries two stars, each dating back more than 50 years.

They represent the only departmental officers killed on duty — Thomas Dodsworth in 1916 and Robert L. Tatman in 1967.

If those stars last the test of time, retired Officer Mark Medlyn said, then honorary street designations should do the same.

The Champaign City Council decided to heed this recommendation Tuesday, unanimously voting to make honorary street designations permanent for city employees who lose their lives in the line of duty. And, from now on, designations for city employees will no longer count toward the limit of four per year.

Both Tatman and Dodsworth had honorary street designations, but they lasted only from 2005 to 2015 under the previous regulations.

"The Tatman family still remembers that day ... it's still a memory they shouldn't have," Medlyn said.

Tatman was fatally shot with his service revolver, leaving behind a wife and four children, and the identity of his killer is a mystery yet to be solved.

Dodsworth was killed in a bootlegging raid.

Council member Will Kyles said Tuesday's change has got him thinking about the expiration date on other designations.

"As new generations come and go, you forget about people who paved the way for your community and made it better," he said.

After speaking with Medlyn at an event honoring Tatman last November, council member Greg Stock brought the change up with the city.

"I'm not really going to take credit. ... It was the legal department's hard work," he said. "I'm glad we're able to do it. ... I felt it was an easy fix."

The designations for Tatman and Dodsworth will be restored at their original locations, with Tatman's on University Avenue between Chestnut and First streets and Dodsworth's on First Street between University and Park avenues.

In other business, the council voted Tuesday to allow restaurants to serve alcohol outdoors at anytime they're open Saturdays and Sundays. The city formerly prohibited outdoor serving until 11 a.m. and noon, respectively.

Both restaurant owners and patrons asked the city for this change, which will mainly affect brunch offerings. The owners of Watson's Shack and Rail, Big Grove Tavern and Radio Maria said that even only a few more hours to serve alcohol outside will significantly impact revenue.