Fallen colleagues remembered on Police Remembrance Day
“Whatever else we do in Police, this day is the one that reminds us that being a police officer is different,” Police Association President Greg O’Connor said after attending the national Police Remembrance Day service today.
“The day is about those slain on duty and remembering that they made the ultimate sacrifice,” Mr O’Connor said.
“I’ve been coming to this service for many years now, and as I hear those names read out, I put myself in the position of each of them in their last moments of the event that caused their death,” Mr O’Connor said.
“WhenI look around and see the police officers here, it is a sobering reminder that it could be any of us, at any time”.
Police Remembrance Day falls on the 29th of September, the feast day of the Archangel Michael, patron saint of police, and was observed today with a service at the Royal New Zealand Police College and in services around the country.
Police staff, family members and others wore the distinctive huia feather-shaped Police Remembrance Pin as they reflected on those who have lost their lives in service to the society they swore to protect.
The Police Remembrance Pin was designed by the Police Association as a way for members of Police across New Zealand to feel part of the day. Introduced in partnership with NZ Police, the pin has been promoted and embraced as the symbol of police remembrance in New Zealand.
“A growing number of police and others are now wearing the Police Remembrance Pin on Remembrance Day, and in the days leading up to it, as a sign of respect for those who have lost their lives. It is humbling for police to see the widespread support from their colleagues and other New Zealanders for the sacrifices police officers have made for their safety,” Mr O’Connor said.
This year, three historical names were added to the Memorial Wall, bringing the number of officers slain on duty to 32. The deaths of Constable James Butler, Constable Louis Heke Bidois and Detective Constable Ronald Bernard Hill, had been identified by the Police Recognition Project and plaques added to the Wall to commemorate them.
The service also remembered 40 officers and employees who have died as a result of their duty, along with serving and former constabulary staff and employees who have died in the past year.