Maplewood's newest officer is the niece of slain cop Sgt. Joe Bergeron

Outside the Maplewood Police Department, there's a memorial to a slain officer.

But the true testament to Sgt. Joe Bergeron's impact on this community is the city's newest police officer.

"It's anxious. It's exciting. There are so many things to do it's really overwhelming," Ashley Bergeron said.

Ashley's "Uncle Joe" was shot and killed in the line of duty while responding to a carjacking call 7 years ago.

But as devastating as his death was, Ashley says the way officers and the community of Maplewood rallied around her family inspired her to follow in her uncle's footsteps.

"I feel like I want to give back to the community that gave to me during the time when we lost Joe. We had strangers and so many different people coming together for us and the family, showing their support," Bergeron said.

In a moving ceremony in front of the Maplewood City Council on Monday night, Ashley was sworn in as a Maplewood police officer.

Her father, Sgt.Bergeron's little brother, pinned her badge on her uniform for the first time.

"We all know the sacrifice that comes with this job. Its kind of bittersweet. They are glad I'm going to be able to realize my dream but at the same time it's 'be careful out there,'" Bergeron said.

Ashley knows the weight of the shield will be heavy at times, but she believes wearing it is the best way to carry her uncle's legacy into the future.

"He was a wonderful guy. I feel like I've learned so much from him to be able to bring to the table and to the police and to the community," Bergeron said.