Remembering our fallen heroes
By JULIA ILES
SOMETIMES the cost of upholding the law requires a supreme sacrifice.
Yesterday police officers who have died in the line of duty were honoured at ceremonies around Australia and the Clarence Valley.
Since the New South Wales police force's inception in 1862, 244 officers have been killed on the job.
More than 30 police officers, their families and friends attended a service in Grafton's Christ Church Cathedral yesterday.
"The service was similar to ANZAC services and is a time to remember them (police) with respect," Shane Cribb, Chief Inspector of the Clarence/Coffs Command, said.
Insp. Cribb, who has served with the NSW Police Force for 16 years, gave a valedictory speech reciting the names of those officers who died in the line of duty, and those who died of natural causes.
He placed a floral wreath next to an Australian flag before solemnly saluting his fallen comrades.
"I've known friends and colleagues who have died in the line of duty and it's always a traumatic experience, while others have become injured and incapacitated," he said.
"We are always vulnerable in certain situations and just try to minimise risk."
Sergeant Chris Tuite, from the Grafton station, recited the police prayer during the service.
"It's (losing a colleague) something all police are aware of but don't really think of too much," he said.
"We are a tight community and the death of an officer affects us all".
In addressing the service, Clarence Valley Council mayor Ian Tiley said it was a special day to pay tribute to those whose job it was to protect and serve the community.
"We will never forget their sacrifice," Cr Tiley said.
In 2005 one NSW officer was killed in a motor vehicle accident while travelling to work on April 4.
Constable Graeme Lees served in the Monarco local area command.
The remembrance services are held on September 29 each year to coincide with St Micheal's Day, the patron saint of the police force.
The Grafton service coincided with a wreath-laying ceremony at the Wall of Remembrance at the Domain in Sydney, which was attended by former and current police officers and the Governor of NSW, Marie Bashir.
Yesterday marked the 17th police remembrance day.