In a moving ceremony, Ashley Bergeron was sworn in Monday as Maplewood’s newest police officer, seven years after her uncle, Sgt. Joe Bergeron, was killed in an ambush in May 2010.

“Tonight we celebrate an important beginning,” Police Chief Paul Schnell said in front of a packed City Council chamber with Bergeron’s parents and many extended family members present. “Policing is a family affair. Ashley understands the nature of this family affair in ways most of us do not.”

Schnell said Bergeron chose to work in Maplewood because she was profoundly moved by the community’s response to the death of her uncle and how the police department, city government and members of the community rallied around the family.

“She was reminded of the incredible influence of her uncle,” Schnell said. “She saw firsthand the nature of the relationship between the police and the community.”

Joe Bergeron had been a Maplewood officer for 25 years and was the first officer from the city to be killed in the line of duty. He was in his squad car in the area of English Street and Ivy Avenue on St. Paul’s East Side while searching for armed carjacking suspects when he was shot on May 1, 2010. The suspect who killed him was shot and killed by police hours later.

A monument paying tribute to Joe Bergeron stands in front of Maplewood’s police department.

“It’s wonderful to have a Bergeron on the Maplewood police force again,” said Mayor Nora Slawik. “We are very happy to have you.”