Journalism graduate student Hannah Ricker writes the latest obituary piece for the New York Times about Detective Marylou Armer of the Santa Rosa Police Department on April 10, 2020. The New York Times teamed up with UC Berkeley's Graduate School of Journalism to report stories about the coronavirus in the state of California. Hannah contributed this piece to the ongoing NYT series of Those We've Lost to the Coronavirus. She is a Global Urban Humanities Graduate Certificate student and completed the GUH Undergraduate Certificate in 2018.
Below is Hannah Ricker's piece taken from the New York Times' California Today newsletter on April 10, 2020.
We’re continuing with our remembrances of those lost in the coronavirus pandemic. (If you’d like to share memories of a Californian you knew who has died, please email us at CAtoday@nytimes.com.)
Today’s piece, about Marylou Armer, was written by Hannah Ricker, a reporter at U.C. Berkeley’s journalism school:
At the Santa Rosa Police Department, Marylou Armer was a detective known for meticulous, leave-no-stone-unturned investigations of domestic violence and sexual assault. But what also set her apart was a bottomless reserve of compassion for victims.
“She was very human in a profession that isn’t always that way,” Stephen Bussell, a fellow Santa Rosa police officer and close friend, said. “In law enforcement, there can be a tendency to be robotic, but she was extremely passionate and empathetic.”
Detective Armer died on March 31, the first police officer in California who died of complications from the coronavirus. One of eight Santa Rosa police employees to test positive for Covid-19, she was hospitalized after developing flulike symptoms. She was 43.
On April 2, the governor’s office said flags at the Capitol would be flown at half-staff in her honor.
She began her career 20 years ago as an evidence technician and worked her way up.
“She was always that person who made people feel connected,” said Kris Capeheart, a friend and field evidence technician at the department, which is in Northern California. “She took the time to make everybody feel special.”
Her friendships ran deep and she often vacationed with colleagues in far-flung corners of the world, including Thailand and Peru. “She knew how to have fun, she wanted to meet people, and she wanted to learn cultures,” Ms. Capeheart said. “She was my rock.”
Detective Armer is survived by a husband and daughter.
[Read more about those we’ve lost here.]