‘She always put others first’
"Officer Leath had the type of smile that could brighten anyone’s day. She was a kind, loving, compassionate mother who had an unbreakable bond with her son and was able to use those skills to bridge the gap between police and the community she served on east district. She is a hero; someone we should all want our daughters to be like. Although her untimely death leaves us grieving, we are grateful for her service and dedication provided to the people of Indianapolis. Rest easy, Breann. We have it from here."
- Southport Police Department
"A hero is an ordinary person who faces extraordinary challenges. They act with courage, honor and sacrifice. IMPD officer Breann Leath was a superhero amongst heroes. Thank you for your service to the city and the country. You were an exemplary model of what Perry Township Schools strives for in its students. We will take it from here and strive to carry on your legacy. Once a Cardinal, always a Cardinal."
- Perry Township School police
"We are deeply saddened by the loss of IMPD Officer and Southport alumna Breann Leath, who is loved by her family and the people she proudly served. Our thoughts and prayers are with the Leath family, many of whom have bravely served our Southside community for years. May their weary hearts find comfort, and may Officer Leath rest in peace."
- MSD of Perry Township
"Breann Leath was a 2014 graduate of Southport High School. She was a good student who displayed great leadership and compassion for her fellow students. She was captain of the SHS dance team. We are proud of her courage, dedication and service in the Indiana National Guard and her desire to serve and protect her community as a law enforcement officer. We are honored to have her as part of our alumni family. She was a role model for current and future Southport High School students. Our hearts go out to her family, friends and our community. You will forever be our Cardinal."
- Southport High School Alumni Association
By Al Stilley
Breann Leath’s infectious smile and boundless energy followed her throughout her life.
Leath, a 2014 Southport High School graduate, began serving in her “dream job” more than two years ago as an Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department (IMPD) officer. She was killed in the line of duty, April 9, after responding to a call for domestic violence at an eastside apartment.
Her former teachers, including a Glenns Valley Sunday School teacher, remembered Leath as a young girl who loved to dance, respected her family, and was selfless in all her actions.
Southport High School English teacher and dance coach Jessi Walpole enjoyed Bre in class and as a catalyst to help launch the high school’s first dance team as a sophomore.
“She was a leader, mediator and role model,” Walpole recalled. “She was the voice of reason for everyone, especially on the dance team when there was a problem. She was a good student, had a big smile and was very sweet.”
Bre also was determined to have a career in law enforcement, following in her parent’s footsteps. She joined the Indiana National Guard after graduation, served as a corrections officer and became an IMPD officer more than two years ago.
After Bre graduated from SHS in 2014, Walpole kept in contact with her.
“One of the things I noticed was that she always was blossoming into a better version of herself,” Walpole said of Bre as a young adult. “She wanted to follow her dad as a police officer. After serving in the National Guard, she wanted to come back to where she grew up and serve the community. She could make a friend of anybody. She always put others first. It was beautiful to see her become a mother at 20 and show the love of family that was embedded in her by her parents.”
Walpole concluded, “She always put others first.”
Heather Tordero, an English and speech teacher at SHS, remembered Bre as well.
“The first thing that pops in my mind is her big smile,” Tordero said. “You could have the worst day and she would smile and hug you and it felt like you could put your chin up. She was smart and knew how to work hard.
“Bre was a person that others were drawn to. She had the biggest heart and genuinely cared about others in a way that was beyond her years. This carried on after she graduated. I was not surprised when I found out she had chosen to become a police officer. I am so proud of her and will really miss her.”
Bre’s smile was infectious as a little girl when she was 3- to 6-years old in Jan Cooney’s Sunday School classes at Glenns Valley Church.
“When I heard about her untimely death, it hit me pretty hard because she was one of ‘my kids,’” Cooney posted on Facebook. “I don’t remember a time when this young lady wasn’t smiling. She could light up the whole room. I can still hear her little voice as she sang and played with the other children.
“That little girl could pray. She could out-pray any adult I ever met. We had prayer time each Sunday, and I know God hears all prayers; but as we would go around the circle, her prayers were full of heart and soul. She was so precocious when it came to speaking to God with her whole heart.”
Cooney reminisced and stated, “Thinking back on this, I realized that this little girl made an impression on me that can never be erased … her little voice is still in my head, and I will never forget the love she shared with the other children in my class … I pray that we all can have the faith she had and trust God.”
Leath, 24, is survived by son Zayn, 4; parents, Tom, a reserve deputy with the Marion County Sheriff’s Department; mother, Jennifer, a public-service dispatcher; sisters, Jay and Tiana; one aunt; two uncles and grandparents, David and Susanne Malone. She was preceded in death by her grandparents, Tommy C. Sr., and Minnie L. Leath.
Leath’s death leaves a legacy and a personality that will not be forgotten by the officers she worked with.
At a press conference Thursday, IMPD Chief Randel Taylor stated, “She’s described as a dedicated officer who showed compassion for the community. She is an example of the type of officer we want on this department.”
Stories began circulating about the way she put others first.
Recently an elderly male called her and said he had been robbed. Bre finished her report, but then bought and delivered a meal from his favorite restaurant. She also met a young male student who was taking a culinary class at a school where she was on patrol. On a subsequent off-duty day, she stopped by that school to try out his cooking.
Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett praised, “She heard the call and she went bravely toward that which could do her harm. Because if she didn’t, harm may come to others.”