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National salute to fallen police officers

29 Sep 2023 9:46am

National Police Remembrance Day will be commemorated across Australia and the South West Pacific Region today to remember police officers who have made the supreme sacrifice while on duty, and honour their lasting legacy.

It is a day that holds significance for us all – sworn and unsworn staff of South Australia Police (SAPOL), retired members, families and other communities Australia-wide and beyond.

National Police Remembrance Day memorial services will take place today throughout the state, honouring the 61 committed SAPOL members and their counterparts from various Australasian police jurisdictions who lost their lives while serving their communities.

This year is especially sombre, as we remember Constables Matthew Arnold and Rachel McCrow of Tara Police Station, who both died on 12 December 2022 after being ambushed at Wiembilla, Queensland whilst on duty.

More recently, we also remember Constable Anthony Woods from Western Australia Police, who tragically died on 11 June 2023 after allegedly being run down at a traffic stop, and Royal Papua New Guinea Constabulary Sergeant Terry Giwaya, who was sadly shot and killed in the line of duty on 20 July 2023, at Oro Bay PNG when searching for armed insurgents.

“Today we take time from our regular duties to honour and remember police colleagues and comrades who have made the ultimate sacrifice in the execution of their duties,” Commissioner Grant Stevens said.

“National Police Remembrance Day affords an opportunity to reflect upon those who have fallen, recalling their unquestionable dedication to our profession and to our community.”

In Adelaide, a memorial service will be held this morning at the Police Academy Wall of Remembrance, presided by Deputy Commissioner Linda Williams and attended by Minister for Police Joe Szakacs, defence sector, government, and emergency services representatives, and various support agencies, along with family members and friends of fallen SAPOL members.

“It is this day, National Police Remembrance Day, which clearly demonstrates that policing is a unique and sometimes dangerous profession,” Deputy Commissioner Linda Williams said.

“Thank you to all dedicated and committed police officers who recognise the risks tied to the profession, but still provide the best service possible to keep their communities safe.”

Minister for Police Joe Szakacs said National Police Remembrance Day is an important day to acknowledge not only the officers who never returned home, but their loved ones.

“Today we honour those who lost their life in protecting their community, and those who continue to risk their lives for the greater good, supported by their families,” Minister Szakacs said.

“Police continue to provide a crucial service, despite the dangers associated with the job.”

Commissioner Stevens will honour SAPOL’s first casualties in the Riverland this morning during a special service at Banrock Station.

In early May, 1847, Corporal William Murray Wickham and Mounted Constable John Dunning Carter drowned when answering a call to Overland Corner, making them the first police personnel to die in the course of their duty in South Australia.

Today’s commemorative events follow last week’s significant memorial service at Tailem Bend to remember and honour Mounted Constable Charles McCullagh who was tragically killed in the line of duty in 1885.

Members of SAPOL, Coorong District Council, and the Tailem Bend community united at Railway Terrace for a special unveiling of a memorial plaque and silhouette in recognition of the South Australia Police officer’s ultimate sacrifice.

National Police Remembrance memorial services will also be held today at Mount Gambier, Port Augusta and Port Pirie.

To further acknowledge the day, a number of venues and locations across metropolitan Adelaide will light up in blue and white as a mark of respect, including Adelaide Oval, Riverbank precinct footbridge, Adelaide Convention Centre, Adelaide Town Hall and O'Bahn entrance.

Meanwhile, National Police Remembrance Day was first held in 1989 and is commemorated annually on 29 September – the feast day of Saint Michael the Archangel, the patron saint of police officers.

National Police Remembrance Day enables community members to recognise and pay their respects to Australian and South West Pacific police officers who have died while performing their duties.