A wife, a daughter, a sister, an aunt, a friend, a lover of dogs, and a police officer; no matter how you knew Marlene Rittmanic, she was known to us all as kind, loving, compassionate, and forgiving. Marlene loved being all of these things for the people she surrounded herself with and was the type of person in your life that made you better, whether you knew it or not. She was truly a Wonder Woman.
Marlene was a dreamer if you will, and she dreamt of being the best wife, the best friend, and the best police officer she could be. She dreamt of a life beyond policing. She had a vision of who she wanted to be seen as in the eyes of others and a path laid out to achieve all of her goals and dreams. Marlene would share her ideas with her wife Lyn, who always supported her in both her personal and professional endeavors. Lyn and Marlene loved their dogs and strived to be the best moms they could be to them. They worked hard together to accomplish every goal they checked off their list and worked even harder to realize every dream they had yet to achieve. They stayed the course with thoughts of retiring together, walking hand and hand with their toes in the sand. Marlene excelled in every role she occupied. In her roles as an officer, detective, and sergeant, she would strive to learn more, teach others, and help those she came across in the course of her duties. Through her passion for training and teaching, Marlene jumped at the opportunity to take over the Bradley Police Field Training Program where she could put into motion her vision of what an officer today should be. Her excitement and passion along with life and work experiences helped develop a successful training program. Her vision continues to impact young and new officers and for that reason, her fingerprint will resonate through the department for years to come.
Marlene’s reach extended far beyond that of her friends, family, and co-workers as she had countless community interactions that left an everlasting positive impression. She created department videos, and also photographed numerous events and activities, always leaving an everlasting impression of positivity throughout her community. Marlene did not only want the best for herself or the best for her brothers and sisters in blue; she wanted the members of this community to be the best they could be too. This was evident not only in her daily interactions with the community but also in her training of other officers on how to treat and associate with our community.
Marlene had a saying she lived by and wanted others to consider when policing the community, “Just because you can doesn’t mean you should.” Marlene realized and always took into consideration the impact we as the police can have on others. Knowing this, she used her discretion to balance police decisions with individual and community impact. Marlene was strong in her values, opinions, and convictions while at the same time respecting others who did not agree. She kept an open mind and would not mold her thoughts just to make a person feel comfortable, but never alienated them for being different. This is why she was, and always will be, one of the good ones.
The senseless loss of Marlene has made this world a lesser place but she will NEVER be forgotten. Marlene Rittmanic was a guiding light whose love, thoughts, lessons, training, and values will outlast us all. Everyone who has read or heard these preceding words will undoubtedly find themselves a better person by having done so and thus what better tribute to the memory of the teacher Marlene envisioned herself to be than to have a Law Enforcement Scholarship in her name. They say, "Greater love has no one than this - to lay down one’s life for one’s friends"; therefore there is no greater gift to the profession and community she loved than to contribute to the education and development of new police officers. We love you Wonder Woman, I Got Your Six.
The color we bleed is that of deep blue,
The blood that is shed
Is without asking for who.
No time to be afraid, no time to cry,
No choice in what we do,
Where we go or when we die.
The color we bleed is that of deep blue.
All too often one will pay the
Those who wear the uniform
Accept this sacrifice.
Beyond the call of duty, one day might
Be mine, no regrets, sorrow or fear as
I walk the Blue Line.
The color I’ll Bleed
Is that of Deep Blue.
~Marlene Rittmanic, 2001~