NORTHFIELD, Ohio - Controversy now surrounds the memorial service of a retired Sagamore Hills Police Sergeant, Christian Krettler, 62, who recently died of cancer.
"He served our country, our country," said his sister-in-law Renell Noack before pointing to an American flag in her yard. "This is what passion is for me. I mean he put his life on the line everyday so that we could be safe. You never knew if he was coming home."
Noack said she is upset because fellow officers did not attend the memorial service for Krettler Sunday.
"I'm just reaching out to find out what you're going to be able to do, he's passed away," said Noack recalling the conversation with police.
She continued, "When he says nothing, I reached out and investigated further why, he was retired. So he was retired, he did 20 plus years."
In an inter-departmental memo provided by a Northfield trustee, the police chief alerted officers of the upcoming service. The memo added the chief was out of town for the holiday weekend and the department lieutenant was on extended sick leave.
Given Sgt. Krettler's retired status, current officers could not be mandated to attend according to the memo. Additionally, the note mentions family and the funeral home did not request a cruiser lead the procession.
Despite initial concerns, Noak said a family friend and officer at a nearby department decided to stand honor guard.
"I've been friends of the family of Sergeant Krettler for a few years now and it was something when I found out he passed that I wanted to do," said Brooklyn Heights Patrolman Chris Leahy. "It was the least I could do to a fellow brother who dedicated his life to the profession."
Family members say it's a gesture they will not forget.
"I can't say enough for him and he was just truly a blessing that particular day thanks Chris," said Noak with a smile.