‘Monumental show of support’ for SJP Deputy Brandon Nielsen

Published 7:37 am Sunday, August 26, 2012

METAIRIE — Hundreds of law enforcement officials from several locations came together Wednesday to honor the memory of St. John the Baptist Parish Sheriff’s Deputy Brandon Nielsen, but not many came from as far away as Sgt. Jose Lopez and Officer Mike Mettie.

Lopez and Mettie, members of the Chicago Police Department, came to the services as members of Brotherhood for the Fallen, a non-profit group of Chicago Police officers of various ranks who attend services of officers killed in the line of duty.

“It is our way of offering support for the family, the police department and the surrounding community,” Mettie said. “A loss of an officer is one that echoes throughout a region, and we are here as a sign of solidarity.”

Lopez said the organization got started in 2010, and about 80 members of the Chicago Police force participate. He said as of Wednesday, Brotherhood for the Fallen has embarked on 49 deployment missions in 24 states.

“We usually send about two or three officers out to the services just as a beacon of support,” Lopez said. “Each one is just as emotional as the next. It is always an unbelievable tragedy.”

Mettie said the brotherhood of law enforcement is one that few groups share. Even after attending other similar funerals the same feelings repeatedly crop up, but Mettie added that the services Wednesday stood out.

“The processions, the tributes, the traditions are always amazing, I just got goose bumps again just thinking about it,” Mettie said. “I look out, and there are police officers and sheriff’s deputies from across the state here. You don’t see that everywhere. This is a monumental show of support.”