‘Ultimate price’: Slain Ill. officer had written poem before her death

Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic, a published poet, wrote about the dangers police officers face every day


By Suzie Ziegler 

BRADLEY, Ill. — Family, friends and colleagues gathered Friday to mourn Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic, an Illinois police officer killed in the line of duty last month. At her funeral, it became clear that Rittmanic will live on after her death – through her words. 

During the ceremony, a fellow Bradley police officer recited a poem that Rittmanic had written 20 years earlier, according to NBC Chicago. In the poem, Rittmanic talks about the dangers police officers face each day. The poem includes phrases like “the ultimate price” and “accept this sacrifice.” 

Read the full lyrics below: 

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 
ultimate price, 
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.

At the funeral, Rittmanic’s wife, Lyn Stua, delivered the eulogy. 

"Marlene, you are my whole reason for living and my heart is empty without you," Stua said. 

Rittmanic was remembered as a great friend, amateur photographer, published poet and a film producer for community events. She was also 2020’s Law Enforcement Officer of the Year, according to the report. 

Rittmanic’s partner, Officer Tyler Bailey, was also shot and has a long road to recovery, reports WGN 9. Two suspects are in custody. The Kankakee County State’s Attorney has asked federal prosecutors to pursue the death penalty for both, according to NBC Chicago. Illinois is not a death penalty state.

NEXT: Read more police poems here

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