INDIANAPOLIS — It’s been one year since IMPD officer Breann Leath was shot and killed in the line of duty as she was responding to a domestic disturbance on April 9, 2020.
On Friday, a memorial was held in her honor. It was a special and emotional ceremony for many officers who were unable to attend Officer Leath’s funeral at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway last year due to COVID-19 restrictions. They finally got to pay their respects alongside her family.
“She was a shining light,” Lt. Michael Leeper said. “I think the sunflower is an excellent example of her.”
A sunflower was placed at Officer Leath’s grave site one year after she was killed in the line of duty.
Remembering her were female officers with “Women Behind the Badge” — a group Leath was a part of — her fellow IMPD East District middle shift officers and the command staff, holding a ceremonious roll call.
“Baker 231 Patrol Officer Leath is now 1042 for the last time,” Commander Richard Riddle said. “May she rest in peace.”
“Breann has wanted to be an officer since she was a small child,” Jennifer Leath, Breann’s mother, said. “I know most of you by now know the story.”
“Officer Breann Leath was family. Check that. Officer Breann Leath - Bree - is family,” Chief Randal Taylor said.
“She went out doing what she wanted to do from the beginning,” Leath said. “It was important to her to make a difference. And I think in her death, she absolutely has done that.”
One year later, Chief Taylor said it’s important to never forget those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
“For those of you who knew her well, you were doubly blessed,” Taylor said. “For those of us who only got a glimpse of her, we could still feel her warmth.”
“Like all of you here today, I never thought my life would change forever a year ago today. But it did,” Lt. Leeper added.
Lt. Leeper helped train Officer Leath from her first day at the academy, then later became her shift lieutenant at east district.
“This is an officer that at a very young age and a very low tenure on the police department was doing things that were not often seen from a new officer. From going out of her way to pay for meals for citizens, from visiting schools that children have a good interaction with police,” he said. “She was a shining example of what we expect out of each and everyone of her officers on a day-to-day basis.”
Following her death and a year like 2020 that brought on demonstrations across the country against police brutality, Lt. Leepper said, “Each of you put the uniform on and leave and just like Bree did a year ago, you walk a tight rope. You do so knowing that if you fall one-way you come home to your family if you fall the other you don’t.”
He often reminds his officers that she had compassion and sensitivity in all of her relationships and as we’ve seen on the day that she died. "She had a strength and courage to do her duty and put her self in harms way. We constantly remind her officers that. We constantly remind our officers that a large majority of our citizens on a day-to-day basis and love them, they appreciate them and they go to bed every night saying a prayer for them. And that’s what they need to see.”