He may have retired from his job as police chief of Riverside, a position he had held for 13 years, but Tom Weitzel has not retired from being an advocate for the profession he so cares for.
Weitzel continues to seek support for making it a federal crime when someone kills a police officer in the line of duty, citing the recent case of Bradley police Sgt. Marlene Rittmanic who was shot dead outside a Bradley hotel after she and her partner responded to a call. Her partner survived and is still hospitalized.
The campaign is not new for Weitzel, who was working towards passage of legislation while still on the force.
Weitzel has written letters to former President Trump, President Biden and to Sen. Dick Durbin to name a few. He’s written letters to newspapers and has done radio interviews on the subject. He’s disappointed that he has not gotten very far with what he believes to be a very important matter.
Weitzel states the police are living in treacherous times and need the support not only of government but the public as well. Police put themselves in harm’s way every day, something Weitzel can relate to. As a young officer just three years on the job, Weitzel was wounded by a shotgun blast — he was saved by his bulletproof vest – while investigating a suspicious vehicle.
He notes that many of these tragic incidents result from routine stops and domestic calls that can turn deadly.
As we continued our conversation, it became apparent that crimes of this nature are all too commonplace. At one time, the death penalty was the punishment for killing a police officer; maybe it is time to relook at it.
Perhaps those of you who support this would not be averse to sending a letter to those for whom you vote.
Thanks again, Tom Weitzel, for not only serving Riverside but for your continuing service in advocating for police officers who are victims of violence.