Fallen IMPD Officer Breann Leath to be honored during memorial service in Washington, D.C.

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INDIANAPOLIS — This week, members of law enforcement and families from across the nation will gather to honor officers lost in the line of duty, including Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Breann “Bre” Leath.

Due to the pandemic, National Police Week events in 2020 were canceled and in-person events for 2021 were postponed from May to October, which is also Domestic Violence Awareness Month.

It was a call for a domestic disturbance that would ultimately be the final one Leath would answer.

Leath was shot and killed on April 9, 2020 while responding to a call for help from a domestic disturbance on the city’s east side. The 2.5-year veteran of IMPD was only 24 years old when she was killed, leaving behind her young son.

Jennifer Leath said she doesn’t believe it’s a coincidence that the pandemic postponed the National Peace Officers’ Memorial service, in which Bre will be honored, to a month that recognizes something her daughter was so passionate about putting an end to.

“I just look at it as another Bre sign because on her funeral it was gloomy and then at the cemetery it was beautiful. Same kind of thing. Little things have happened and I feel like it’s her way of showing up,” said Jennifer.

The Leath family will depart for Washington, D.C. on Wednesday to take part in Police Week events.

“It’s a place of honor and a very distinguished place and she’s there with her family in blue,” said Jennifer. “For us personally, it’s gonna be very emotional.”

Almost 500 names, including Bre’s, will be read off during the ceremony on the Capitol steps on Saturday.

Bre’s name is also one of hundreds to be engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial walls, bringing the total to 22,611 officers memorialized there who were killed in the line of duty.

“We’re sharing her with the nation now, she’s gonna be on a monument,” said Jennifer.

“I know her name’s engraved out there and I just really want to see it, as weird as it sounds,” said Jennifer, “because I know that everybody else is gonna see her name too and they’re gonna know that she was an officer, and she was a proud one.”

“When you see someone’s name on a concrete wall, it’s there forever. It’s touching.”

Big events come with a wide range of emotions for the Leath family, but more than anything, they’re so proud.

“Our family has been, we’ve been leaning on each other a lot especially on big events like this,” said Jennifer.

IMPD will also be represented in the nation’s capital during National Police Week by several officers, some who are already there, and Chief Randal Taylor.

“This is my first time to be able to experience it in person. I’m looking forward to it from the standpoint that it’s honoring those who have fallen, including Bre, but you know, that’s also a downside because you’ve lost an officer and you’ll be reminded of how many of those officers have lost their lives,” Taylor told CBS4.

Bre’s family said IMPD has been a huge support system for their family since they lost her in 2020.

“They’ve been very present in our healing process because I think we need each other to do that. They want to know that we’re doing okay,” shared Jennifer. “When it comes down to it the things that truly matter, family is family and they stood up for us and have been family for us when we really, really needed it.”

Taylor said for the department, the feeling is mutual.

“Those relationships that police make with one another out there fighting crime, it’s a strong bond,” he shared. “So when one of them loses their life, we take it upon ourselves to adopt their family.”

“It’s important to us to take care of them and we’ll continue to do that so that memory’s not lost,” said Taylor.

Jennifer said Bre used to joke with their family that she would be famous one day and it’s no surprise it’s centered around her dedication and love for helping others.

“She took pride in everything that she did. I told her, if you’re doing your best, nobody can fault you for that,” said Jennifer. “Every day, give it your best, and she was the epitome of that. I think that sometimes people think that we were exaggerating about her.”

Like anyone else, Jennifer said Bre had her bad days, but she always walked with confidence, carried herself well and above all, cared about everyone she had the chance to meet, even those she arrested.

Jennifer said she would remind people that because they made a bad decision, it doesn’t make them a bad person.

“She just wanted to be good and treat people like people. We’re all human and we all make mistakes,” said Jennifer.

She hopes when people see Bre’s name on the wall in D.C. they’ll know a little more why they encourage everyone to “Be Like Bre” and go out of their way to do good in her name.

“She felt like she was making a difference. In hindsight, she absolutely was. She just couldn’t wait to get out there, every day she loved it,” said Jennifer.

“Bre was a – she was a superstar,” said Taylor. “No doubt in my mind she would have had an extremely successful career.”

Several other officers will also be recognized during Saturday’s memorial service including:

  • City Marshal Joseph C. Fishback Sr. – Cannelton Police Department – end of watch 11/8/1900
  • Trooper Peter Stephan – Indiana State Police – end of watch 10/11/2019
  • Police Chief David Hewitt – Rising Sun Police Department – end of watch 02/13/2019
  • Det. Sgt. Te’Juan Fontrese Johnson – Charlestown Police Department – end of watch 12/2/2020
  • Officer Kenneth Reid Lester – Richmond Police Department – end of watch 02/10/2020

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