JERSEYVILLE, ILL. - An Illinois town is preparing a hero's welcome for a police officer shot in the line of duty. The Jerseyville community is already decorating the town in blue, while the officer recovers in the hospital.
As soon as they learned that Officer Nathan Miller had been injured, the town of Jerseyville assembled, tied blue ribbon to their store fronts and hung signs from their windows.
“Our community believes in what our policemen do," said Bill Russell, the mayor of the city of Jerseyville.
The decor, which can be found throughout the downtown area, represents the town’s support for and appreciation of their police officers.
"They see us sometimes at our worst times, but they're always going to be there no matter what," said Nicole Smith, one of several people taking part in the “Paint the Town Blue” initiative.
Right now, one officer, in particular, is in the forefront of people’s minds, 30-year-old Nathan Miller.
"He came and performed his duties to protect this community, which is what he was doing the night of the incident," said Mayor Russell. Russell has known Miller since he started on the police force in 2014.
Miller was responding to a burglary at DJ’s bar and grill early Tuesday morning. The suspect, 24-year-old Austin Durham fired at Miller and hit him twice. Durham was also shot and later died at the hospital.
“Whatever we need to do to take care of that family and all of our police officers," Russell said.
In that same spirit, one local business, Julie’s Graphics, is selling signs and decals which read, “Back the Blue.”
“Everyone is putting them in their yards or the fronts of their businesses," explained its owner, Julie Pohlman.
The group is anticipating Miller’s return.
“So, whenever he comes home, he can know that we have supported him in his heroic act," Pohlman explained.
Mayor Russell tells five on your side that he visited with the family in the hospital. He’s happy to report that Officer Miller is doing well.
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