Heartfelt tributes have been paid to police officers killed on duty across Australia, including two constables gunned down at a remote property.
Services were held across the country on Friday to mark National Police Remembrance Day.
Three officers were killed on the job in the past 12 months, including Queensland officers Matthew Arnold and Rachel McCrow.
Constables Arnold, 26, and McCrow, 29, were following up a missing persons report on a Wieambilla property in December 2022 when they came under fire from a high-powered rifle.
Const Arnold was killed, while a wounded Const McCrow returned fire before she was also fatally shot.
In a statement, the families said the pair epitomised what it meant to be a police officer, always putting others before themselves.
“Bright, brave, thoughtful and kind,” they said.
“Outside of work, they were loyal friends, full of laughter, a devoted daughter and dedicated son – they impacted the lives of everyone around them.
“Every day, our families deeply miss their presence, and our love and pride in both Matthew and Rachel will never waver.”
They also offered their heartfelt thoughts to all police families struggling with the loss of a loved one.
“There are no words to express the pain, but we stand with you in remembering them today and every day,” they said.
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said the observance would be especially personal as she stood with the fallen officers’ families.
“It’s the worst thing that can happen in your commissionership is to get that phone call where you’ve lost an officer,” she said.
“It is incredibly important to show that we will never forget them.”
Family members travelled to Canberra as their names were added to the National Police Memorial, along with that of 28-year-old Constable Anthony Woods who was run over and killed following a pursuit in Perth in June.
WA Police Commissioner Col Blanch said the loss of Const Woods was deeply felt.
“Constable Woods was simply trying to arrest another young man, in an effort to keep the community safe,” he said.
“It was the sort of interaction that any of our officers may encounter any given day or night of the year, reminding us of the ever-present dangers facing police officers.”
In Darwin, the Northern Territory police community remembered the 13 officers who had died in the line of duty since 1883.
There was also a special focus on mental health, with more than 100 officers on extended leave across the region.
“The days are gone where you pat each other on the back and go to the pub and have a beer,” NT Police Commissioner Michael Murphy said.
“We’ve got to make sure that people are supported and they’ve got preventative measures in place.”
National Police Remembrance Day is commemorated across the country on September 29, the feast day of Saint Michael the Archangel – the patron saint of police officers.
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