Retired Sandwich detective sergeant appreciated close-knit community

Jennifer Marcellis recently retired from department

Sandwich Police Department Sergeant Dan Whitecotton, left, and Sandwich Police Chief Kevin Senne, right, present recently retired Sandwich Police Department patrol and detective sergeant Jennifer Marcellis, center, with her retirement plaque.

SANDWICH – Recently retired Sandwich Police Department patrol and Detective Sgt. Jennifer Marcellis said she appreciates the opportunity to serve a community like Sandwich.

Marcellis said she enjoyed working for a smaller community like Sandwich, which has a population of about 7,000.

“There’s a lot more close networking when you’re working in a smaller community,” she said. “I really enjoyed that.”

Marcellis, 45, has been in law enforcement for 23 years. She began her career with the Glendale Heights Police Department in 2001 and had been with the Sandwich Police Department since December 2014.

Recently retired Sandwich Police Department patrol and detective sergeant Jennifer Marcellis.

She was a very good investigator. She took her time. She didn’t rush anything.”

—  Sandwich police Chief Kevin Senne

She decided to get into police work because she wanted to serve the public.

“It’s a dedication to service,” she said. “It was just something that always interested me. It’s such a challenging and rewarding career.”

Her twin sister, Janelle, also is involved in law enforcement and is deputy chief for the University of Chicago Police Department.

“I think twins seem to follow the same career path,” Marcellis said. “We both went to school for it, and we both interned together at the DuPage County Sheriff’s Office.”

Sandwich Police Chief Kevin Senne said her presence will be missed.

“She was very level-headed,” Senne said. “She was a very good investigator. She took her time. She didn’t rush anything. She was very involved in domestic violence and sexual assault-type cases. She was really looking out for the victims in those cases.”

During her career, she has been a hostage negotiator, forensic evidence technician, juvenile and gang specialist, and crisis interventionist. Marcellis served on a countywide sexual predator enforcement team, several multijurisdictional task force teams and as a liaison officer for the FBI Terrorism Task Force Team.

She also is an instructor in the areas of sexual assault and domestic violence.

“I’ve always kind of leaned really hard into the investigative side of law enforcement,” Marcellis said. “The one thing about this career is that there are so many careers within a career. There are so many different, unique branches within the job itself that it never becomes mundane.”

She also is happy to serve as a role model for women who might be thinking of becoming a police officer. Marcellis taught classes at Waubonsee Community College and Kishwaukee College, and several of her female students have gone on to become police officers.

“Whether it’s gender or race, communities need to be served by people that reflect the community,” Marcellis said. “That’s how we create a good network and collaboration between the police and the public. They have to feel relatable to the police.”

Marcellis said she will be taking the skills that she has acquired as a police officer and using them in another capacity.

“I’m young enough to pursue and start an entirely new career journey,” she said. “So I figured it was time to do that. I’ll be continuing doing what I love, which is working on the investigative side of things, but I’ll just be doing it for a state-run department.”