BATON ROUGE, La. (WAFB) - The job of law enforcement does not stop in the face of a pandemic. Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Deputies have been doing what they can to stay safe while also protecting their communities. But the virus is unlike any challenge they’ve seen.
“Yea COVID-19 hit our office really hard. You know we suffered through the first phase, the second phase, but I was really surprised about the third phase,” said Ascension Sheriff Bobby Webre.
Around a quarter of Ascension’s deputies have tested positive for COVID-19 since the beginning of the pandemic. A staggering percentage that took almost everyone by surprise and left leadership wondering how to fight back.
“You can’t shut down the jail or our patrol division, so they have to work. and you know we try to do all the right mitigation effects such as wearing masks, washing hands, and social distancing but sometimes that difficult in the world of law enforcement or in the world of first responders in general. And as you know we lost one of our officers earlier this year due to COVID-19,” said Webre.
That officer was 33-year-old Kyle Melancon, who passed away in august shortly after testing positive leaving behind his wife Rebecca and his 8-year-old son Mason.
“He was the kindest man I had ever met; he would give the shirt off his back to anybody,” said Kyle’s wife Rebecca.
Her last moments with him were about as heartbreaking as it gets.
“I got a text message from I’m at 4:00 in the morning, um it was kind of gibberish, but you could make it out that he was saying ‘I’m sorry, but I’m being put on a ventilator’...and um...there was nothing I could do...it’s hard to see...to see somebody you love go through that and there’s nothing you can do,” said Rebecca.
Sheriff Bobby Webre is hopeful the vaccine will help protect his deputies and other first responders. The Ascension Parish Sheriff’s Office received 150 vaccine doses yesterday to issue out to their officers who wish to take it.
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