CHARLEVILLE police officers risk their lives daily in their line of work and tragedy is never outside of the realm of possibility.

For this year’s National Police Rememberance Day, a ceremony livestreamed from Brisbane to the Charleville station was held due to COVID-19, but local police paused to reflect on the sacrifices their colleagues have made and commemorated the fallen among their ranks.

There are 15 former serving police officers buried in the Charleville Cemetery that are remembered in each year.

Sergeant Joseph Carton was an Indigenous mounted police officer who died as a result of a drowning accident while bathing in the Warrego River behind the police station on December 12, 1872.

But it’s believed he’s buried in an unmarked grave and his death predates local cemetery records.

Sub-inspector Michael Broderick died as a result of a police horse accident and died on the roadway on May 9, 1909.

Senior sergeant William Sutching died of a heart attack while on duty on December 28, 1957.

Sutching’s final resting place was in an unmarked and unnumbered grave until Charleville Police discovered his burial site in recent times.

Looking back, looking forward

Officer in charge acting senior sergeant Jon Roche said officers attend emergent life and death situations daily and often involves urgent duty.

“Unfortunately, ‘life and death’ and the risk of serious injury is commonplace in our job,” snr sgt Roche said.

“However we don’t stray from our commitment to the Crown and the community of

Queensland to preserve life and property and uphold the peace.”

Police attend trying situations such as stopping drug or alcohol fuelled offenders, and domestic violence incidents after a family member suffers a mental episode.

“Police officers, along with their families are acutely aware of the oath they swear or affirmation they make at the time of their induction into the Queensland Police Service and are reminded daily in the calls for service they attend,” snr sgt Roche said.

“We are all prepared to make the ultimate sacrifice, to put the lives and safety of others before our own and aware of the inherent risks associated when performing our policing duties.

“Our poor loved ones often find it difficult to reconcile in their hearts and minds that

we perform the role that we do, day in day out and over the course of our service.”

There are things the public can do to help Charleville police officers in their duties, such as reporting incidents as soon as possible, even if someone believes somebody else has already done so.

“The timeliness of an emergency service response is often critical to the outcome and ensuring community safety is maximised,” snr sgt Roche said.

“Members of the public need to trust their gut instinct and report matters to Police because if

something doesn’t feel right or appears unlawful, then it generally is.

“Also, people need to let police do their job and not put themselves in harm’s way.

“Likewise, they should not take the law into their own hands.”

Charleville Western Times

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