“Steven Vincent epitomized what it meant to be a Louisiana State Trooper. When you talk about courtesy, loyalty and service – that was him!” Louisiana State Police Commander Mike Edmonson said, his voice husky with unshed tears.
Senior Trooper Steven Vincent is being laid to rest tomorrow, following a noon mass at Our Lady Queen of Heaven Church in Lake Charles. He was killed in the line of duty, after stopping to render assistance.
“He encounters a truck in a ditch. The guy’s not coming out, so he goes to it. He’s having a conversation with him. He’s doing everything by the book—exactly,” Edmonson said, speaking of the patrol car video that captured Trooper Vincent’s final moments.
The Colonel continued, softly, “And the truck door opens, and you see the shotgun comin’ out.”
Edmonson says Trooper Vincent’s death -- and the death of Sunset Police Officer Henry Nelson on Wednesday -- is a reminder that there’s no such thing as a routine call.
“We’ll study his death. We’ll learn and train from his death,” Edmonson said, “But we’re going to celebrate his life.”
Vincent lived a life of service. He served in the Army during Desert Storm and Desert Shield. Before joining State Police 13 years ago, he was a Lake Charles Police officer for almost ten years. That’s where I got to know him, doing 12-hour ride-alongs as part of going through Lake Charles’ Citizens Police Academy.
And, like Col. Edmonson, I wasn’t surprised to find that Steven Vincent helped save lives with his own death.
“In his death, he gave his organs -- to know that he lives on in that,” Edmonson said, smiling despite the teardrop that rolled down his cheek. “And that’s what he was about. He was about giving.”
Edmonson found a message for his troopers – indeed for all of us -- in this:
“The best way that you can honor Steven Vincent is through your actions.”
And that means acting on Trooper Vincent’s final words.
“I’m here to help you.”