Bradley Police Sergeant Marlene Rittmanic, who was shot and killed in the line of duty while responding to a noise complaint at a Kankakee County hotel last week, was remembered at her funeral as not just an officer but "a wife, a friend, a fur mom."
Family, friends and colleagues gathered Friday at Olivet Nazarene University in the Hawkins Centennial Chapel to remember the law enforcement veteran who tragically lost her life on the job.
"Marlene you are my whole reason for living and my heart is empty without you," her wife Lyn Stua said while delivering Rittmanic's eulogy.
Hundreds of cars joined in a procession from the chapel to the Abraham Lincoln National Cemetery. Crowds lined part of the procession route as people stood in bitterly cold conditions to honor Rittmanic's service.
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In lieu of flowers, the family has asked that memorials in her honor be made to the Marlene Rittmanic Memorial Fund at Federated Bank in Bradley. Memorials will be accepted at the services and the Clancy Gernon Funeral Home in Bourbonnais as well, but the family said it is not utilizing any online crowdfunding sources.
Rittmanic, a 21-year law enforcement veteran, was fatally shot last week when officers responded to a noise complaint at the Comfort Inn Hotel on Illinois Route 50.
Two people were arrested in connection with the shooting, which also critically injured a second officer. The Kankakee County State’s Attorney has requested that federal prosecutors pursue the death penalty for both.
In a statement, family and Bradley police called the law enforcement officer a "leader in community policing" who would "work together to find a solution that produced the least disruption in people’s lives."
"...She believed – and stated, 'just because you can, doesn’t mean you should.' Meaning – if you have statutory grounds to arrest a person, tow their car, or fine them, doesn’t mean you should. If she pulled over a single mother without a $1 to her name but clearly had violations, she would consider the long-term consequences of creating more debt to someone that is already impoverished," the statement read.
While Rittmanic was recognized as Law Enforcement Officer of the Year in 2020, she was also a published poet, amateur photographer and film producer for family, police and community events. She is also remembered as an avid dog rescuer.
"Our world has been turned upside down, obliterated and hopelessly broken," family and police stated.
Loved ones and colleagues went on to express thankfulness for those who "have affectionately gone out of their way to help us get through the
most unnecessary, heartbreaking, painful, deplorable, tragic loss of our lives."
"We are forever indebted to all of you and thank you from the bottom of our
hearts," the statement read.
According to her obituary, Rittmanic is survived by her wife, father, sisters and brother.