IMPD officer, family friend remembers Breann Leath as city prepares to lay her to rest
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department Officer Breann Leath will be laid to rest Thursday, exactly one week to the day she was killed.
But in the middle of a coronavirus pandemic, just about everything will look different from previous funerals for fallen law enforcement officers.
Leath’s body will be leaving Crown Hill Cemetery at 7 a.m. and taken to the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, the site of her funeral. It’s the first ever at the city’s most iconic landmark.
While it’s unlike anything IMPD has ever done, Lt. Michael DeHart, who oversaw Leath’s training and is a family friend, believes the service will be as unique as Leath.
“I could tell she was really coming into her own,” DeHart said.
DeHart was the coordinator of the field training unit when Leath was fresh out of the academy.
“As far as she went, she had no issues at all.”
Then last May, he ran into her again when he was called to assist a chaotic scene involving a DUI. At a time when many rookies could have let the situation get out of control, he said Leath didn’t.
“That stuck out to me. She handled it so well,” DeHart said. “She didn’t get mad about it. Just handled it professional and it was a mess, trust me.”
The fact Leath was named “Officer of the Month” in such a short tenure after she bought a meal for a fraud victim, speaks volumes to DeHart.
“It’s very rare.”
Now that life, that shining star is gone before it really had time to shine. It’s a point which is perhaps the most unfortunate to DeHart.
“I hate it even more because they don’t see the positives,” he said. “It ended so young, there are so many positives in public service. She was getting into that.”
DeHart’s ties to the Leath family go way back.
He worked with her mom when she was a control officer and he was working the late shift, then helped train her father as a new sheriff’s deputy more than 20 years ago.
As we reported Tuesday, Leath’s parents released a video on Facebook thanking the community for their support during this difficult time.
“That speaks a lot that they’re able to pull it together. They had to be hurting. I’m a father of four and I can’t imagine.”
As for DeHart, his way to help and his way to grieve is to serve in the East Precinct during the funeral so that others can attend.
While so much of this ceremony will be unlike the last 61 in IMPD’s history, he doesn’t believe that’s a bad thing.
“I think they need to honor her in this very different way. It won’t be specifically traditional but in a way, it’s going to be uniquely her,” he said.
DeHart added he hopes the community will watch at least a portion of the funeral or procession, appreciate her sacrifice and be reminded of the heroic work that so many people do across this city.