November 25, 2016 begins a year of commemoration for Champaign Police Officer Robert L. Tatman, in recognition of his sacrifice and devoted service to the Champaign community.
Officer Tatman, service badge #80, was killed in the line of duty on November 25, 1967 during a vehicle stop in Champaign. Shortly after 1:00 AM on that day, Tatman radioed dispatch that he was stopping a vehicle on Church St, just West of Mattis Ave. Minutes later, a passing motorist used Tatman’s squad car radio to notify dispatch that there was an unresponsive policeman lying near his vehicle. Officer Tatman was pronounced dead on the scene from an apparent gunshot wound. No suspect or vehicle descriptions were obtained, and the case remains unsolved at this time.
In honor of our fallen hero, retired and current Champaign Police Officers, the Champaign Police Historical Society and members of the Tatman family have coordinated a year of homage leading up to the 50 year anniversary of Officer Tatman’s line of duty death.
Included in those efforts, beginning November 25, 2016 an honorary decal will be featured on Champaign Police Department squad vehicles. The decal reflects Officer Tatman’s badge and 1967 squad car emblem, and will remain featured on the Department vehicles throughout their use.
Officer Tatman is also being recognized with a commemorative “challenge” coin—a commissioned silver plating coin reflecting Tatman’s name, 1967 badge and “end of watch” date. The coin, as well as the honorary vehicle decal, is being made available for purchase through December 31, 2016. The keepsakes are $10.00 each, with all proceeds dedicated to the Champaign Police Historical Society.
The anniversary year will culminate with a wreath laying motorcade on November 25, 2017, from the Champaign Police Department to Tatman’s resting place, North of Mahomet. More details regarding the motorcade ceremony and associated efforts will later be announced.
Please join us in honoring Officer Robert L. Tatman #80, who made the ultimate sacrifice and who will always be remembered for his dedicated and courageous role as a public servant to our community.
For more information, please call 217-403-6961, or email [email protected].
The purchase of coin and vehicle decals may be made at the Champaign Police Department in the form of cash, check or money order to retired Champaign Police Officer and Champaign Police Historical Society President, Zane Ziegler. All proceeds dedicated to the Champaign Police Historical Society.