SPRINGFIELD — Honoring the quick thinking and brave actions of the Dixon school resource officer who thwarted a school shooting two weeks ago, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner has proclaimed May 30, Officer Mark Dallas Day in Illinois.
Rauner, along with State Sen. Tim Bivins (R-Dixon) and State Rep. Tom Demmer (R-Dixon) met with Dallas, his family, and members of the Dixon Police Department in his Capitol office on Wednesday.
"Officer Dallas’ decisive and courageous action saved the lives of many students and staff at Dixon High School and prevented what could have been an unimaginable tragedy,” Rauner said. “We’re all very proud of Mark and honored to declare it Officer Mark Dallas Day in Illinois.”
“Welcoming a hero to the Capitol is always an honor. Welcoming a hometown hero is even more exceptional,” Bivins said. “We wanted to create a day Officer Dallas would remember because he gave us a day, May 16, that we will never forget.”
"Mark Dallas was not only a hero to the hundreds of lives he protected at Dixon High School, but he serves as a great example to us all of putting service above self," Demmer said. “Mark has brought the best law enforcement has to offer as a school resource officer and we are a grateful state for his decisive action and service. We all celebrate Mark Dallas Day in Illinois today. May we also work for a world that never needs this type of heroism again."
On May 16, Dallas confronted an armed former student who had fired a gun at Dixon High School where students were gathered for a graduation rehearsal. As a result of Dallas’ decisive action, no students were harmed.
“We can no longer deny that school shootings have become a horrific part of our new national normal. It is a normal that we must change,” said Dallas, advocating for school resource officers in Illinois public schools.
“Today, I come before you not as a police officer who loves his job, but as a dad who loves his kids. I ask you to support the placement and training of school resource officers in schools throughout this state. You will save our children’s lives by doing so.
This legislative session, Rauner is urging support for measures to free up local revenue to hire more resource officers, like Dallas, who can intervene and prevent school violence before it happens. Rauner’s amendatory veto of House Bill 1468 and standalone measure House Bill 5887 would allow school authorities to, by referendum, use existing sales tax revenue to hire school resource officers and mental health workers based on local determinations of need.
“Our schools need more heroes,” Dallas said. “Our elected officials have the power to be just that. You are, and you will be, the true heroes for our children when you support the training and placement of school resource officers in our public schools.”
“Every school should have a Mark Dallas,” Rauner said. “These officers are experienced resources that can keep our students and teachers safe and focused on learning.”
Dallas has 24 years of law enforcement experience, serving 15-years on the Dixon Police Department and the last five years as the school resource officer for Dixon High school. As the school resource officer, he serves as a law enforcement officer, law-related counselor, and a law-related education teacher working closely with the students and staff while acting as a liaison for the police department.