Hero Down: Ambridge Police Chief Mark Romutis Dies From Coronavirus
Pittsburgh, PA – Ambridge Interim Police Chief Mark Romutis died from COVID-19 complications on Sunday.
The 64-year-old police chief began experiencing symptoms associated with the novel coronavirus on March 20, and had not been in the office since that time, the Borough of Ambridge said in a press release on Monday.
“To date, Chief Romutis remains the only Ambridge Police Officer and employee to have any symptoms of COVID-19,” the borough noted.
Chief Romutis was a patient at Allegheny General Hospital at the time of his death, WTAE reported.
“It is with an extremely heavy heart that Ambridge Mayor David Drewnowski and members of Borough Council announce the passing of our Chief of Police, Mark J. Romutis,” the borough said in the release. “Chief Romutis passed away last evening from complications of COVID-19.”
He was described as a “people’s policeman” who was “devoutly dedicated” to his family and community, according to the release.
“Being highly dedicated, Chief Romutis brought many aspects of modern community policing to Ambridge that created lasting friendships and respected relationships with our citizens,” Drewnowski noted. “His unique abilities brought progressive change to the Ambridge Police Department including his monthly ‘Coffee with a Cop,’ to routinely walking a beat on Merchant Street interacting with business owners.”
Chief Romutis’ “personal approach” provided him with firsthand information regarding the community’s concerns, and he addressed their needs with “compassion and sincerity,” Drewnowski said.
His law enforcement career spanned over four decades, according to Borough Council President Michael Mikulich.
“The Chief prided himself as an old beat cop, and his 41 years of decorated experience truly helped make Ambridge a better place,” Mikulich said.
His law enforcement career began in 1979, when he was hired by the St. Clair Police Department as a patrolman.
Chief Romutis began serving the Pittsburgh Bureau of Police in 1983, and achieved the rank of lieutenant prior to his retirement in 2004.
He also spent time working as a Beaver County sheriff’s deputy, the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review reported.
He was at the helm of the Ambridge Police Department (APD) from 2006 until 2011, when he began serving as the Ellwood City Borough police chief, according to the borough’s press release.
Chief Romutis returned to the APD in 2018 as the interim chief, and remained in that position until his death.
In addition to his role as a law enforcement officer, Chief Romutis also worked as an adjunct criminal justice professor at the Community College of Beaver County and the University of Pittsburgh.
“Chief Mark Romutis was a very good and kind man,” Beaver County District Attorney David Lozier told the Ellwood City Ledger. “He was a strong leader who provided stability and moral guidance to the borough of Ambridge.”
The Ambridge Regional Chamber of Commerce said the beloved chief was a “guiding light” in the community.
“One of Ambridge’s greatest ambassadors, he was always active and engaging in the community, and had a positive influence on everyone he interacted with around town,” the chamber said in a Facebook post. “Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, friends, and the Ambridge Police Department during this time. We will never forget his service to our community.”
Chief Romutis leaves behind his wife, Renee, as well as his son, Sam.
“The Borough of Ambridge thanks the Romutis family for sharing Mark with us. His wit, dedication and enthusiasm will be missed. He will be remembered for his professionalism, sense of humor, compassion to others and his steadfast ability to lead by example will truly leave his mark on Ambridge and it’s 21 member police force,” the borough’s statement read.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Ambridge Interim Police Chief Mark Romutis, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Rest easy, hero. We’ll hold the line from here.