Burlington, WI - Burlington Police Officer Tanner Kitelinger, age 27, died from 'medical issues' while off-duty on Friday, June 9, according to The Journal Times.
In a statement, Burlington Police Chief Mark Anderson said that Officer Kitelinger's death was "unexpected", but probably "related to issues" from his diabetes, which he has had since he was 12-years-old. Chief Anderson said that Officer Kitelinger had just been assigned a K9 partner, Zander, on May 7.
Officer Kitelinger was born in Beloit, and went to Beloit High School. In 2012, he graduated from the University of Wisconsin - Whitewater, and then went on to attend Blackhawk Technical College Police Academy in Janesville. He graduated from the academy in 2014, and was hired at the Burlington Police Department in 2015.
Chief Anderson said, “(He) was an outstanding law enforcement officer and, more importantly, was an outstanding person,” Anderson said. “He will be greatly and sadly missed by the department.”
Burlington mayor Jeannie Hefty said that she was "heartbroken and devastated" when she found out. “He struck me as a very positive and respectful individual,” Hefty said. “He was a rising star for the future of the department. My prayers go to his family and Chief Anderson and the members of the department.”
Hefty said she had become friends with Officer Kitelinger through the city's K9 program, which had been inactive. Officer Kitelinger had been 'dedicated' to bringing the K9 program back.
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Burlington Police Officer Tanner Kitelinger, both blood and blue. Godspeed, sir, we will take the watch from here.
Thank you for your service.