MANDEVILLE, La. — On April 8, the Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development (DOTD) announced a joint effort to honor the life of fallen Mandeville Police Captain Vincent N. Liberto, Jr.
Captain Liberto, a decorated Marine Corps Veteran, 25-year Mandeville officer, and father of seven, was killed in the line of duty on September 20, 2019.
DOTD has partnered with state legislators, the City of Mandeville, and the Liberto family to finalize a permanent, proper memorial.
The proposed plans will align with a proper flag displaying protocol, federal highway regulations and create a more fitting tribute to Capt. Liberto on U.S. 190 near LA 22 in Mandeville.
“As Chief of Police for the City of Mandeville and a Marine Corps Veteran, I recognize and appreciate the public outpouring of support and the symbolism of all of the flags that have been strung along the fence near the scene of Captain Liberto’s murder,” said Mandeville Police Chief Gerald Sticker. “But we as a community need to realize that ultimately, it is not proper flag etiquette to allow our Nation’s flags to weather away in the elements with no proper care and attention. This is why I am happy to partner with the Liberto family and DOTD to tidy this area up once and for all, as we work toward a permanent and fitting memorial to our late Captain.”
Currently, a temporary memorial has been built on a fence near the aforementioned intersection. While the efforts to create the current display are appreciated by the Liberto family and the City of Mandeville, the memorial is not within federal highway statutes and American Flag guidelines, which requires appropriate lighting, in addition to proper care and attention.
“The Liberto Family genuinely appreciates the love and support that our community has given to us through the most horrific time of our lives,” said the Liberto family. “To know that Vince (“Vinnie”) was loved and admired by so many truly makes us feel so blessed. We are humbled by the roadside memorial and the desire to keep Captain Liberto’s memory alive. After speaking with City and State Officials, the current roadside memorial will be taken down with our blessing and will be replaced with a more permanent memorial in his honor.”
In the coming days, DOTD staff will be removing the non-compliant memorial items and properly disposing of the flags in accordance with flag guidelines. After the display is cleared, the Liberto family, the City of Mandeville and DOTD ask neighbors to not honor Capt. Liberto through memorial creation, but instead, pay tribute through the prominent, permanent memorial that is being finalized.
”The Department and I are excited to reach a resolution with state and local officials and the Liberto family to allow the City to amend an existing permit and elected officials to submit legislation to rename the interchange to properly honor Captain Liberto’s service to our country and community.” said Larry Sharp, DOTD District Engineer Administrator. “Finding a way to more permanently memorialize his service and comply with federal and state guidelines has been a goal since the temporary memorial was started by the community. With this new memorial, everyone who travels through Mandeville can recognize and pay tribute to the life and legacy of Captain Liberto.”