A MESSAGE FROM OUR CHAPLAIN | THE HALL OF HONOR
BY JEFF KRUITHOFF
Vincent "Vinnie" Liberto, Jr.
The Hall of Honor,
On Tuesday February 25, 2020, a very solemn ceremony was held at the F.B.I. Training Academy in Quantico Virginia. The ceremony was to honor and recognize the ultimate sacrifice of Captain Vincent Liberto. A marble plaque with his name and etching of his likeness was added to the other 31 plaques recognizing the graduates who have also been killed by adversarial action after they attended the F.B.I. National Academy.
The Hall of Honor Ceremony was held in conjunction with the Chapter Leadership Summit, which is held annually for Chapter Officers and Executive Board Members to meet to discuss and plan the future of this great organization.
As the National Chaplain, I had the distinct honor to facilitating the agenda for this service. Laura Masterton, Director of Special Projects/Training Coordinator, from the National Office coordinated the speakers and the presence of Captain Liberto’s wife Tracey and her family at the ceremony. Also in attendance were many session mates from #251 to offer support to the family and show in a deliberate manner that the comradery fostered in the National Academy does not end at graduation.
Listening to Chief Sticker from the Mandeville police department and Scott Rotolo a session mate from Ohio speak about Captain Liberto truly brought to light the wonderful man Captain Liberto was. His comments echoed many of the comments first memorialized when Captain Liberto was killed on September 20, 2019.
On that date in the words of his obituary, Vincent ‘Vinnie’ Liberto, Jr., loving husband and father to seven children, was killed in the Line of Duty serving his community and doing what he loved.”
Vinny was born and raised in New Orleans Louisiana and a proud graduate of Brother Martin High School. He was a lifelong Saints football fan. He spent 30 years raising his family in Mandeville, Louisiana and was a 25-year veteran of the Mandeville Police Department after serving as a decorated Marine combat soldier in Operation Desert Storm. After being honorably discharged as a Sergeant, Vinny became a Deputy for the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office.
Among his many achievements Vinny was also a certified polygraph examiner, and rose to the rank of Captain as a gentle giant who consistently committed himself to be a leader, coach, and mentor to everyone he met. In addition to being a strong staple within his community, he was a man who was dearly passionate, loyal, and dedicated to his family, his friends, his profession, and to all who he touched.
On that September 2019 date, a Mandeville Police Officer attempted a traffic stop on Monroe Street but the driver chose to flee, initiating a pursuit. Captain Liberto, sitting in his office, ran toward the danger by getting in his police vehicle to assist. The pursuit headed north on US-190 before heading back south on the off-ramp to Highway 22. This is where all three vehicles were involved in a crash.
Immediately upon being involved in the crash, one of the suspects in the fleeing vehicle starting firing at the police officers. Both officers were struck, and Captain Liberto was killed almost immediately.
Both suspects in the fleeing vehicle continued to flee the scene on foot and were sequentially arrested by other responding officers. Captain Vincent “Vinny” Liberto Jr. had performed his last act of heroism as a police officer.
In the Gospel according to Matthew 5:9, we are told, “Blessed are the Peacemakers for they shall be called sons of God.” NKJV. The Message Bible phrases it just a little different when it says, “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family.” Many testaments to the life of Vincent Liberto attest to his status as a “Peacemaker” He was truly a special person and friend to many.
I walked through the Hall of Honor many times as a National Academy Student. Most of those times, I did not really stop and think of the story behind each of the names memorialized there. I did not think of the family grief, the agency grief and the community grief that had occurred after each tragic death.
The name of Captain Liberto will be the third name added to the Memorial Wall since I have been the National Chaplain. I will never walk through the Hall of Honor again without pausing to remember and pausing to say a short prayer for the survivors. They were all fellow graduates, and shared in one of the greatest experiences of my life. The experience of attending the F.B.I. National Academy.
Until next time be safe, be blessed and take a moment to reflect on our graduates who have made the supreme sacrifice to our chosen profession.
Until next time, God Bless.
Contact me at email@example.com
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