A motorcade of Lafayette Police units were pulling into a church parking lot on Thursday evening commemorating their fallen brothers during National Police Week; and in the company of their family.
The precession from Lafayette Police station came to an end here at St. Barnabas Episcopal church in Lafayette, where a 40 minute ceremony was held to honor 19 fallen officers. One of the officers was David Richard from Port Barre police who died in the line of duty in 2007.
"He's our hero. Actually we're proud of him for the service. It was an honor for him. His goal in life was to be chief of police and he loved doing what he did and he died in the call of duty," says his daughter Lainey Estis.
Estis lost her father while he was responding to a high-speed chase and was remembering him in front of hundreds on Thursday with personal anecdotes.
"He used to tell me he put an 8 by 10 picture on the dashboard of all the police units to let the police officers know exactly what I looked like, so if they did see me around town they know who I was," says Estis.
Stepping out of the ceremony others were approaching Estis with their own stories of her father.
Amanda Bertrand, who was a colleague of Richard, says "he was always late. He'd call last minute ‘hey, I'm clearing out I-49 for you. Everybody that's late is going to be here in a few minutes.' Always cracking jokes."
Esits was one of the only family members to speak in front of the crowd, but the 18 other officers being honored were featured in a slide show and on display. Not included was Sgt. Rick Riggenbach of the Chitamacha Tribal Police, who was fatally shot in January while responding to a call.
But Esits says something she's found from this annual gathering is police officers are a true brotherhood and families of fallen officers all share the same grief.
"There's many here going through the same thing and were not alone," says Estis.
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