Sergeant Rutledge was born in Oakland, California. He attended local schools and graduated from Oakland Technical High School in 1942. He later attended both the City College of San Francisco and the University of California at Berkeley.
Sergeant Rutledge enlisted in the U.S. Navy in 1942 and was honorably discharged in 1948 at the rank of Radioman 1st Class. He was later recalled to active duty during the Korean War and served overseas from 1951 to 1952.
Sergeant Rutledge was appointed to the department as a Patrolman-Clerk on 11-16-50 and assigned badge #94. On December 1, 1972 he was promoted to the Rank of Sergeant and assigned Badge #S-15.
During his tenure with the Berkeley Police Department, Sergeant Rutledge held positions in Patrol Division, Service Division, the Patrol Special Detail and Juvenile Bureau. In addition he was also a department Range Master.
Sergeant Rutledge was involved in several youth programs, including Sea Scouts. After his death the local Boy Scout Council named a Sea Scout Vessel the “Jimmie Rutledge” in his honor.
At 5:23 a.m., 6-16-73, Officers were dispatched to to the 2200 block of Russell Street on a report of a prowler. Initially officers were not able to locate the prowler and Sergeant Rutledge remained in the area to watch for the suspect.
Sergeant Rutledge subsequently contacted an individual and attempted an arrest on his own. The subject, later found to be a ex-felon, resisted handcuffing and a struggle ensued.
During the fight, the suspect gained control of Sergeant Rutledge’s gun and shot the officer, fatally wounding him. The suspect also wounded a neighbor who had come to render assistance to Sergeant Rutledge.
Following the shooting, the suspect forced his way into a acquaintance’s home and took several hostages. At the conclusion of the stand-off, the suspect killed one of the hostages, a 4-year old girl. The suspect then chased the remaining hostages from the house with gun in hand and was killed by police.
Officer Rutledge is buried in Mountain View Cemetery, Oakland, California.