SOUTH SALT LAKE (ABC4 News) – Before fallen Officer David Romrell served the citizens of this community he proudly served the United States as a decorated Sergeant in the U.S. Marine Corps.
Officer Romrell survived three tours of duty in some very dangerous places only to later lose his life on the streets of South Salt Lake when he was struck by a fleeing burglary suspect’s car Saturday night.
According to his service record obtained by ABC4 News, Romrell enlisted on March 1st, 2010 when he was 22 years old.
He was deployed during Operation Enduring Freedom as a Light Armored Reconnaissance Crewman from March of 2011 to February of 2012 and the following year served a 7 month deployment in Romania. He earned several awards, including an Achievement Medal, a Good Conduct Medal and two NATO Medals.
After his discharge he remained a member of the Marine Corps Reserve based at Camp Williams. Orem Police Department cadet Jeremy Ruppe served with Romrell in the Reserve’s Charlie Company and calls him his platoon’s “older brother”.
“He was able to really closely interact with a lot of young Marines and influence them,” Ruppe told ABC4 News. “He had a lot of experience from being on active duty that a lot of our career reservists didn’t have so he had a lot of valuable insight into life and the Marine Corps and I think that’s why people were attracted to him.”
While Ruppe was serving in Afghanistan, two of his fellow Marines were killed but he says the danger doesn’t end once veterans return home, especially for the ones transitioning into police careers.
“Law enforcement has a lot of dangerous duty that you do,” Ruppe said. “I think that’s why a lot of Marines specifically and so many veterans in general like to join law enforcement. We’re kind of used to the danger. We generally run towards the danger and when the wars were over this seemed like a natural fit for us.”
Ruppe told me that he has spoken to members of Officer Romrell’s former platoon and they are taking his death very hard.
Marine Corps Major Roger Hollenbeck extended condolences to Sergeant Romrell’s family, friends and coworkers adding that the Corps stands ready to support them in every way they can.