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Slain Officer's Wife Upset Husband's Portrait Moved at Station

Slain Officer's Wife Upset Husband's Portrait Moved at Station

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Chicago Tribune via YellowBrix

April 13, 2010

CHICAGO – The widow of a slain Riverdale detective said she’s insulted that village officials moved a “sacred” portrait of her husband that hangs inside the police station.

The portrait was moved from a second-floor balcony in the lobby to a wall behind the lobby information desk last week. Maureen Rolniak, 43, believes the portrait is now in a less public place.

“It’s very disrespectful for any officer, in any town, any city” killed in the line of duty, said Rolniak, clad in a white T-shirt and a blue dog tag, both emblazoned with her late husband’s smiling face. “He gave the ultimate sacrifice.”

Rolniak is the widow of Detective William “Wally” Rolniak Jr., who was killed on Feb. 4, 2004, after he was taken hostage by an escaping prisoner who grabbed Rolniak’s gun, forced him outside the Riverdale police station, then shot him in the head. A year later, the village named the public safety building after Rolniak, who was 39 and the only Riverdale police officer to die in the line of duty.

Riverdale Mayor Deyon Dean said in a phone interview that he thought he was helping people who had to crane their necks to see Rolniak’s portrait. Dean said the portrait in its new location is the first thing people see when they walk in the front door.

“The intent of the administration was not to discredit the memory of our beloved officer, but to ensure that his memory would be even more cherished by having Detective Rolniak’s picture moved to a more visible section of the police department and renaming our Detective’s Division in his honor,” Dean said in a statement.

The Illinois Fraternal Order of Police Labor Council issued a press release Monday, criticizing the mayor’s decision to relocate the portrait, an oil painting of the smiling officer in a suit. The union also said Dean planned to remove Rolniak’s name from the Det. William “Wally” Rolniak Jr. Public Safety Building. The mayor said that’s not true.

Riverdale officials do plan to add the village’s new logo to a sign at the entrance of the building parking lot and tweak the name to the William Rolniak Jr., Riverdale Public Safety Building, Dean said.

  • Evgeni_nabokov_max50


    about 4 years ago


    I am glad the picture of a fallen hero is back where it belongs.

  • Blue_candle_holiday_memory_max50


    about 4 years ago


    I'm very happy to report that Det. William "Wally" Rolniak's portrait is now back where it belongs! Thanks to all of you for your posts and back-up. There was a mass phone-in, plus emails,...and a Facebook group that was set up in support gathered over 1600 people in less than 24 hours. This was a true and strong showing of the Thin Blue Line, and again, I thank you all!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago


    Put the picture back where it belongs.

  • Me2_max50


    about 4 years ago


    After seeing where the picture was, and where it was moved to, I agree 100 % that the picture needs to be moved back to the original location. This was so disrespectful of whoever chose to have it moved. I don't understand what the reasoning was, but its wrong so fix it.

  • Anonymous-killer-whale-232189_1__max50


    about 4 years ago


    Politics be damned, put it back where it belongs !!!

  • 69449_1211356382103_1774586232_374199_4168085_n_1__max50


    about 4 years ago


    Seroiusly? Moved over a copy machine...what a slap in the face.

  • Laugh_now_cry_later_max50


    about 4 years ago


    I think I have to agree with the widow on this. That "after" picture just doesnt have the same effect does it.

  • Images_max50


    about 4 years ago


    Put it back.

  • My_kids_027_max50


    about 4 years ago


    If its not broke Don't fix it. Another words just leave well enough alone and put the picture back where it belongs.

  • Major_league_max50


    about 4 years ago


    I agree that it needs to be put back where it was.

  • 25-1-13-a_1__max50


    about 4 years ago


    IamQnMutha and Frank, Thanks for providing the pics and allowing us to make an informed opinion. This is crap and the portrait needs to go back to its original place of prominance.

  • Snoopy_6_max50


    about 4 years ago


    I wonder what kind of political crap motivated the move of the portrait.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago

    I encourage everybody to visit these links to see the actual positions of the picture, -before and after-
    Now I understand why the window is so upset

    Thanks IamQnMutha for sharing this info.

    R.I.P. Brother.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    about 4 years ago


    Thanks for the update.
    Now I can make an intelligent comment, based on first hand information from a fellow cop.

    Thumbs down on this crap.
    Put this hero's picture where it always was. Where it belongs...!

  • Blue_candle_holiday_memory_max50


    about 4 years ago


    I don't know how to post pics other than in My Albums, so that's where there are pictures of Wally's portrait, where it was in the lobby, and where it was moved to. The album is in my profile in the Memorial album.

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