‘My dad’s up in Heaven’: Fallen officer tribute includes donation for K-9 vests

Published 12:10 am Saturday, May 20, 2017

LAPLACE — Emma Triche never met her uncle Jeremy Triche.

The 4-year-old daughter of Jeremy’s brother Jared and his wife Whitney wasn’t born yet when Jeremy, a St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s deputy, was killed in the line of duty in an ambush-style shooting on Aug. 16, 2012.

Emma Triche, niece of Jeremy Triche, turned out Thursday at the Fallen Officer Memorial Balloon Release.

She knows all about him, though.

“He got shot by bad people,” Emma said. “Now he’s in Heaven.”

To Jeremy’s mother, Edie Triche, it’s important that her granddaughter and everyone else knows who Jeremy was and how he died.

That’s why she and several other family members of St. John officers who have died in the line of duty gathered for the annual Fallen Officer Memorial Balloon Release Thursday at Thomas Daley Park.

A brisk breeze threatened to take Emma’s blue and black balloons from her tiny hand, along with the colorful ones she and her family brought to the event. A few balloons did manage to escape early from some of the deputies in attendance.

Shortly after noon, Sheriff Mike Tregre gave the signal to release the dozens of black and blue balloons, which quickly floated away.

Lily Nielsen, whose father Brandon was killed in the same 2012 shooting with Triche, said she whispered a message to her dad before letting go.

“I thought about how my dad’s up in Heaven and I sent him a message,” said Lily, 11. “He died a hero.”

Lily Nielsen, daughter of Brandon Nielsen, attended the Fallen Officer Memorial.

Brandon’s widow Daniell Nielsen Jenkins said it is important people remember and express gratitude to current officers for what they do every day.

“We appreciate things like this,” Jenkins said.

The ceremony was moved to the park because of the ongoing construction at the Percy Hebert Building.

A new addition to this year’s ceremony was a black pickup truck painted with a blue line etched with the names of the fallen: Constable Ignace Rousselle (Nov. 20, 1936), Dep. Harry Troxclair (Aug. 1, 1969), Det. Lt. Sherman Walker (Nov. 6, 1984), Dep. Barton Granier (Jan. 27, 1996), Code Officer Edmond Songy Jr. (July 9, 2002), Capt. Octavio “Ox” Gonzales (June 16, 2006), Nielsen and Triche.

Tregre said the truck was evidence confiscated in a drug bust a few years ago.

“I wanted to do something with it,” he said. “I saw a truck like that in Orlando at the International Chiefs of Police conference. I said, ‘You know what? I’m going to get me a truck like that.’”

The Sheriff’s Office unveiled a black and blue pickup truck that listed the names and end of watch dates of the police officers killed.

After the ceremony, Edie Triche presented a check to Tregre for the purchase of bulletproof vests for the department’s K-9 unit, which Jeremy Triche belonged to.

The proceeds came from the annual Spots and Dots Fishing Tournament hosted by the Deputy Jeremy Triche Fallen Hero Foundation. The third annual event will be held June 10 in Cocodrie.

The Triche family also is spearheading an effort to have a permanent memorial built to all fallen first responders in the parish.

“We’ve been invited to the St. Charles (memorial) but we don’t have anything,” Edie Triche said. “We decided we needed to do something, hopefully before next year’s memorial.”

Tregre said he is fully on board with the idea.

“We need this,” Tregre said. “We need to come together. It keeps us all together. It lets the families know that they’re all still part of this family. It keeps us mindful of what happened to them and, to tell the truth, what could happen to any one of us. It’s warm out here but it’s a cold dose of reality.”