A senior police officer has issued a teary apology to the family of deceased Gomeroi man Gordon Copeland.
On day two of a coronial inquest into his death and police actions in Moree, the court heard from Senior Constable Crystal Manusu who was in charge on the night of the initial police search when Mr Copeland went missing in the Gwydir River in July last year.
His body was found three months later.
Senior Constable Manusu read a written statement.
"I wanted to offer my sincerest apologies to the family and friends of Gordon Copeland, and to the community. I am a mother, I'm an aunt, I'm a daughter and if something happened to my family, I would be devastated and beside myself," she said.
"I joined this job to help others and to protect the community, and with the benefit of hindsight if there is anything I could have done differently that would have changed the outcome, I would do it without hesitation.
"I am truly and sincerely sorry for your loss."
The focus of the day featured around the number of persons believed to be involved in the initial search, and their description including ethnicity, and how that affected the outcome.
Counsel assisting, Dr Peggy Dwyer, said there had been a communication breakdown and that the omission of a description of an Aboriginal person was a crucial piece of information.
Dr Dwyer also questioned the initial police search, having spent only 13 minutes at the scene.
"With hindsight I should have spent more time looking down at that river," Senior Constable Manusu said.
When she returned to the station after her shift had ended and found out a search had begun again, she said her heart sunk.
"I didn't think there was a likelihood of anyone surviving if they weren't found and they had recommenced that search so I was devastated that someone had possibly lost their life and I couldn't have done anything to stop that."
Dr Dwyer turned her attention to making recommendations to assist police in this situation in the future.
She noted that Senior Constable Manusu would not allow an officer into the river without some sort of rope or safety device, and asked if she believed vehicles should be equipped with a life ring and any other safety equipment experts believed would be helpful in these scenarios.
"I do," Senior Constable Manusu said.
"If we had some kind of binoculars or heat seeking (equipment) we would have seen exactly where that person was," she added.
Aboriginal Legal Service public defender, Bill Neild, also questioned the officer about the events preceding the events at the river.
The court heard on Monday that officers were carrying out "high-vis policing" in response to a spate of stolen vehicles in the town when the vehicle involved in the incident was spotted.
Mr Nield questioned Senior Constable Manusu about her following the vehicle the victim was a passenger in on the night he died and if it constituted a pursuit.
Senior Constable Manusu admitted she was speeding, but that was not classed as a pursuit as there were no lights or sirens used. She said she was trying to catch up to the vehicle to check the license plate and confirm her suspicions the car might be stolen.
Mr Nield rebutted the claim saying there was "more to" the definition.
"You didn't know who was in the vehicle, and you didn't know if the car was stolen," he said. "You had no reason to believe on reasonable grounds an offence had been committed by the people driving that vehicle."
The hearing continues.