Vermonters pay respects to fallen Rutland City Police officer

Published: Jul. 17, 2023 at 6:57 AM EDT|Updated: Jul. 17, 2023 at 6:26 PM EDT
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RUTLAND, Vt. (WCAX) - First responders and Vermonters paid their respects on Monday to a young police officer who died in the line of duty.

Hundreds of law enforcement and first responders took part in the walkthrough on Monday to pay their respects to 19-year-old Ofc. Jessica Ebbighausen, who was killed while on the job earlier this month.

Ebbighausen’s cruiser was hit head-on by a man police say was trying to get away after breaking into a home. Ebbighausen was killed in the crash. At just 19, she was working to become a full-time member of the department.

Two Rutland City Police cruisers with Ofc. Ebbighausen’s badge number and wreaths parked outside the Rutland Recreation and Community Center.

The walk-through for first responders started at 4 p.m. Then members of the public were allowed in to pay their respects.

Middlebury Police Chief Thomas Hanley said in times of grief and mourning, it’s important for law enforcement throughout the state to support one another.

“We’re all doing the same job regardless of what color uniform you’re on... We’re all here to support each other when tragedy happens. Again, we all backup and support each other all the time-- whether emotionally, physically or on the job-- and when we lose one, we all lose,” Hanley said.

Massachusetts State Trooper MaryJean Spinale said she and Ebbighausen are close in age and had similar career aspirations. She said it was important for her to be at there to pay her respects.

“You know that anyone here would do the same thing for you, so I felt it was only fair to pay my respects and do the same thing. I don’t know her super personally, but I just know that it is very heartbreaking to lose somebody on the job and I can only imagine what the department is going through right now,” Spinale said.

The doors in Rutland were set to remain open until 7 p.m. for anyone who wants to pay their respects.

The funeral for Ebbighausen is being held Tuesday in Castleton, but due to limited space there, the public was invited to attend the Monday night event instead.

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