3 retiring Joliet officers hang it up on same day
By Brian Stanley firstname.lastname@example.org January 26, 2013 3:52PM
Francis "Rudy" Ruettiger (right) poses with John Nosal (left) and David Sova at their recent retirement from the Joliet Police Department. Ruettiger later reflected on an incident early in his career involving a cape. | submitted photo
Updated: February 28, 2013 6:15AM
There was some symmetry as three veteran Joliet police officers shared their last day on the job.
Before joining the department John Nosal, Francis Ruettiger and David Sova all worked together as security guards at the Jefferson Square Mall in the mid-1980s.
About 100 colleagues, relatives and friends attended a ceremony held at the station to mark their retirements.
“I’ve always felt lucky to be here (because) my first day of work I almost didn’t make it,” Ruettiger, the longtime school liasion detective, said.
Ruettiger’s grandfather, a Will County deputy, sparked his interest in law enforcement, but he spent 12 years working for Caterpillar before pursuing a career.
“Rudy’s” mouth got him called into the chief’s office a few minutes after the rookie questioned the truth of a man’s complaint at the front desk. But he was also able to talk his way out of trouble that time and start a 28-year-career.
After thanking his wife Kathy, and his children — Jaime and Shelley, Ruettiger turned over Badge No. 110 to his nephew, Officer Jeff Haiduke.
Nosal served as a liaison officer for Joliet Public Grade School District, an arson investigator and the primary detective assigned to sexual assault cases involving young children before working in internal affairs. He was one of the VFW Cantigny Post’s Police Officers of the Year in 2011.
He felt many veteran officers dealt with things incorrectly when he watched them as a young officer.
“But 10 years down the road I found out it all comes back to what they were saying,” Nosal said. Nosal was looking forward to spending more time with his wife Sharon and sons Jacob and Zachary.
Sova, a father of three and lifelong resident, was the first officer to ever receive the department’s highest honor — The Martin S. Murrin Medal for outstanding bravery.
On July 20, 1989, Sova was driving a prisoner back for booking when he turned down Ottawa Street.
“A guy at the door of Champion Federal Savings had a gun in one hand and was scooping up money that was blowing around with the other hand. I figured out what was going on,” Sova recalled.
The robber jumped into a waiting getaway car and shot at Sova five times, but Sova decided not to return fire with other people nearby.
Sova never discovered why his radio wasn’t working, but he chased the bandits by himself until another officer spotted the pursuit.
Sova would move on to the Neighborhood Oriented Policing Team and finished his career in administration.
“My dad was always about helping people and I couldn’t think of another job to do that,” Sova said. “All three of us came here when the gangs were in their heyday and our goal was to get the bad guy.”
“I leave (happy) knowing we did more good than bad,” Sova added.