New England Police District Commander, Superintendent Scott Tanner joined officers from throughout his command – which now extends out to Moree and Boggabilla – and local colleagues and the Tenterfield community to mark Police Remembrance Day at ChristChurch Anglican Church on Friday, September 28.
Speaking on behalf of the community, Reverend John Cooper gave a moving address on the importance of marking the day which remembers serving police officers who have been killed on duty, and those that have died in the past year.
“When a police officer goes to work they never know what they’ll be confronted with when they turn up on the day,” he said.
“And tragically some officers don’t make it home to their families and that’s what today is about. We are here to remember those officers who made the ultimate sacrifice, to keep our community safe.
“We’re here to grieve for them, and we’re here to grieve for their families; for the husbands and wives who don’t get to grow old together, for the children who won’t get to spend time with their mums and their dads, for the mates that are left behind.
“Most of the time we sail through life pretty easily, we don’t worry about too many things, not knowing that it’s our police out there in the communities putting themselves in harm’s way, to keep us safe.
“It’s your unflinching devotion to the protection of the vulnerable and to keep our community safe, that everyone of us here today is indebted to you for.
“Our community is a better place because of the service that you bring to it , and we’re here today to acknowledge the safety and the peace which we enjoy has come at a very great price.
“The security that we have is something that we cannot take for granted and we will not take for granted, and we want to thank you for your service to us.”
Supt Tanner thanked those who came along to the service, saying that the show of support meant a lot to the police and the police family.
“While we commemorate our officers and our friends and our family that have fallen in the line of duty, it’s also a time to really celebrate what they’ve actually done for us.”
Supt Tanner said in meetings he’s had with his sergeants over past months, one of the messages he leaves them with is to try to remember why.
“Why you joined NSW Police, why you came to Tenterfield, why I came to the New England area.
“I think all of us joined because we wanted to make a difference, and we wanted to be someone that would support our community. The real distinction about country policing is that not only do we work in the community but we live in the community, we raise our family here and we become attached.
“The sadness is compounded when we lose one of our own in our small communities, and we’ve seen that over the Western region in the last couple of years.”
After prayers for the fallen and their families and the reading of the names of the officers who have passed (including that of Western Australian Constable Dennis Green, who died in the line of duty on December 7, 2017), wreaths were laid by police representative and by member of Tenterfield Shire Council, Tenterfield High School leaders and members of the community.
During the gathering in the church hall which followed the service, Mayor Peter Petty said it was a great honour to host the event for the first time, and that everyone’s thoughts are with the young police officer (24-year-old Constable Peter McAulay) currently battling life-threatening injuries in Brisbane.
Cst McAulay remains in an induced coma in Princess Alexandra Hospital after being struck by a stolen vehicle, receiving serious head and internal injuries and broken bones. A 16-year-old boy and a 15-year-old girl have been charged with attempted murder.