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‘Thank you, Mr. Policeman': New deputy inspired to work in law enforcement by fallen officer

Madalyn Jarreau was 5 years old when she went to a fallen officer’s funeral procession; she graduated from the academy 18 years later

By Joanna Putman

BATON ROUGE, La. — An officer killed in the line of duty inspired a 5-year-old to go into law enforcement. Eighteen years later, she’s a sworn-in Louisiana deputy, WAFB reported.

Back in 2005, Vicki Melancon was attending the funeral procession for her son, Baton Rouge Police Department Detective Terry Melacon Jr. Detective Melacon was shot and killed while serving a search warrant at a house, according to the report.

Jarreau was also in attendance at the procession, at the time she was 5 years old and held a big sign that read “Thank you, Mr. Policeman,” according to the report.

“She held up the sign. And I just thought this was a celebration too,” Melancon told WAFB. “This is a celebration of his life. And that thread has, for the past 18 years, just permeated between our two families.”

Although Jarreau’s parents are first responders, it was Terry Melancon’s legacy that drove her to the East Baton Rouge Parish Sheriff’s Department’s training academy.

“That’s my purpose,” she said. “He’s the reason why I’m in law enforcement.”

Jarreau graduated from the academy at the top of her class in academic achievement on Jan. 9, which also happened to be Terry Melancon’s birthday, according to the report.

“I think God and Terry knew exactly what they were doing,” Vicki Melancon said. “She’s carrying on what Terry left behind. She’s carrying that on, and that is such an honor.”