Police officers who lost their lives in the line of duty were honoured at the National Police Remembrance Day service in Albany on Friday. It was a beautiful morning outside the Great Southern Police District Complex as about 80 people gathered on Stirling Terrace to pay their respects, including police colleagues, their friends and family members as well as representatives from local government, community organisations, and emergency services. The event, which takes place on September 29 each year, coincides with the Feast of Saint Michael — the patron saint of battle, security forces, and paratroops. “It is a sad day for many, but also a day to reflect on those officers who have made a difference in policing and providing a service to the WA community,” MC Senior Constable Craig Turton said. Acting Superintendent Paul McMurtrie, speaking on behalf of Superintendent Paul Coombes who had been called to Perth, paid tribute to Constable Anthony Woods who died after he was dragged under a car in East Perth in June. “Constable Anthony Wood’s life was tragically cut short while serving and protecting our community,” he said. “The death of Constable Woods highlights the inherent danger involved in police work, not knowing what we might face when we are called to duty.” In closing, he thanked those who have served: “To all police officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice, and to all our past and current members of the police force, we honour you and we profoundly thank you for your service”. Reverend Karen Cave conducted scripture readings, the police prayer, and the Lord’s prayer with intercessional prayers read by Acting Senior Sergeant Roy Begg. Five officers then approached the offering table, laying down handcuffs, a male and female cap, a police radio, and the WA Police Force Values. The offerings symbolise the fight against crime, the dedication of frontline officers, the importance of communication between police and the community, and the qualities needed for public confidence in policing. Sergeant Wayne Byram and Senior Constable David Johnston read the names of 87 police officers and aides who lost their lives in the line of duty, including several from the Great Southern. After a reading of the Police Ode by Constable Aimee Clarke, a number of those present laid wreaths, including Margaret Wilson for her uncle, fallen Constable Kenneth Flatt, who died in a crash in Dalwallinu in 1961, and Grant Ruland whose late brother Senior Constable Philip Ruland was killed in a plane crash near Newman on Australia Day in 2001 along with three others. The audience stood for the last post and the national anthem before the “touching of the rock”, a Western Australia Police Force tradition that started in the Pilbara in 2001 to commemorate four offers who were tragically killed in an aircraft crash. The tradition has been adopted in other police districts, including the Great Southern, which suffered its own plane crash tragedy in 1996 when Detective Senior Constable Charles Scott died during a drug surveillance flight near Mt Manypeaks. Sen Const Turton said it had become “a personal and moving way for police officers, police staff, families and communities to end a ceremony in remembering all our fallen colleagues, and especially their partners and families left behind”.