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Fallen Oldham Countian LMPD detective honored

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By Amanda Manning

By Amanda Manning and Andrew Henderson

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The recurring refrain from Greg Allen, pastor of the Crestwood Southeast Christian Church, is those gathered in the sanctuary of Southeast’s Blankenbaker campus shouldn’t have to be there on the rainy Dec. 31 morning. 

Yet, many were there.

Hundreds of community members, Louisville Metro Police Department (LMPD) officers, police officers from other departments and first responders alike were gathered to pay their respects to fallen LMPD Detective Deidre Mengedoht.

“We should not have to be here today, but we are,” Allen said.

Mengedoht was killed in a fiery accident on Interstate 64 on Christmas Eve while conducting a traffic stop. A semi-truck traveling eastbound struck the back of her vehicle with her inside, before pushing her police car into another vehicle.

“Unfortunately the detective’s car caught fire. The damage to her vehicle was catastrophic and Detective Mengedoht was killed in the collision,” LMPD Chief Steve Conrad said in a news conference Christmas Eve.

Mengedoht, an officer with LMPD for over seven years, was also a resident of Oldham County.

Roger D. Burdette, 60, was arrested on the charges of murder and operating under the influence. He was an employee of the Metropolitan Sewer District in Louisville.

In a court appearance Dec. 26, he pleaded not guilty to the charges, according to the Courier Journal. His next court appearance is scheduled for Jan. 7.

“There is still much to know about what happened today and this investigation is continuing,” Conrad said Dec. 24.

Allen said Mengedoht should be on her beat in Louisville’s west end communities today, but instead they were attending a service in her memory. 

Allen said to remember Mengedoht is to also remember hope, and the hope she had in God. He then led a prayer asking for comfort for those grieving.

“We’re going to do two things today: we’re going to remember Deidre and we’re going to remember our hope,” Allen said.

Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Conrad also spoke at the service.

Fischer said Mengedoht was an exemplary police officer, thanked her for her service and said her life was far too brief.

Likewise, Conrad praised Mengedoht for her work, saying she was exactly what Louisville needed in a police officer: kindness, firmness and dedication.

Conrad also shared excerpts of a 2011 autobiographical essay Mengedoht wrote while she was in the police academy. In one portion, she wrote how she hoped to live up to her potential working in the LMPD. 

“I’m here to say she did well more than that. She far exceeded her potential in this department and gave more than any officer should ever have to give,” Conrad said.

The Oldham County FOP Lodge expressed their condolensces online shortly after Mengedoht’s death.

 “Not only was Officer Mengedoht a sister in blue, but she was a fellow Oldham Countian,” the Oldham County FOP Lodge wrote on Facebook. “Please continue to pray for her family, co-workers and all communities she was part of.”

“The NOFD extends its deepest condolences and sympathy to the Louisville Metro Police Department and the family of Detective Diedre Mengedoht,” the North Oldham Fire Department also wrote on Facebook.

The Oldham County Police Department (OCPD) also expressed sympathy.

“OCPD is saddened at the loss of LMPD Detective Mengedoht, and sends out condolences to LMPD and her family,” they wrote. “Please remember her family, and brothers and sisters in blue, over the next several days. Rest In Peace, Det. Mengedoht.”

Governor Matt Bevin also tweeted about the fatal accident.

“Heartbreaking news unfolding on this Christmas Eve involving a police officer who was assisting a stranded motorist…please be careful on the roads this holiday season as you travel across Kentucky...we want everyone to make it safely home including those who protect and serve,” Bevin tweeted.

On Dec. 26, the Louisville Metro Police Foundation started a fundraiser on Facebook asking for donations for Mengedoht’s son.

At the time of press, the foundation had raised nearly $68,000 for her son.

A procession was held Saturday, Dec. 29, in Louisville as community members, police officers and other first responders lined the streets as Mengedoht was transported on a final route around the community she served. A visitation was held Sunday, Dec. 30 at Arch. L. Heady Resthaven.

She was buried in Hebron Cemetery in Bullitt County.