The first names of police officers who took their own lives as a result of work-related trauma have been added to the NSW Police Wall of Remembrance, prompting calls for the same recognition nationally.
As police around the country paused on Friday to pay tribute to fallen colleagues, the names of six officers who took their own lives were inscribed on the NSW wall.
They were remembered alongside the other 269 officers killed in the line of duty since 1862.
The family of missing Townsville police officer Mick Isles urged for that commemoration on the national memorial in Canberra, where they would like to see the names of all police officers who took their own lives as a result of work-related trauma.
Senior Sergeant Mick Isles disappeared into Burdekin bushland without a trace in September 2009, apparently to drive to a training course in Townsville he never arrived at.
While he was recognised at Townsville’s National Police Memorial Day, his son Steven said he should be commemorated nationwide along with all police officers who died by suicide.
“He went to work and never came home,” Mr Isles said.
“To have my father etched, firstly on the state memorial in Brisbane, and secondly on the National Police Memorial, would recognise that he gave 35 years of a distinguished career to the Queensland police service and community of Australia.”
NSW sets precedent
Deborah Bryant’s husband, Detective Sergeant Ashley Bryant, took his own life in a national park on the NSW North Coast in 2013.
If you or anyone you know needs help:
Ms Bryant said she was proud of the sacrifice he made for his work and that his name’s inclusion on the NSW wall was recognition of that service.
“I think it’s really, really important to remember that sacrifice,” she said.
“Our husbands and sons went to work and they faced the same dangers day in and day out.
“Unfortunately they were injured and every day they went back out and they faced those same difficulties again and again until finally they could give no more.”
Senior Constable Scott Nicholson took his own life almost 21 years ago, and his wife Sharan Nicholson-Rogers said she was pleased post-traumatic stress disorder had finally been recognised as an injury.
“I’m hoping that it paves the way for police who are struggling [that] they will come forward and ask for help,” she said.
“Because I don’t want any other family to go through what we’ve been through.”
NSW Police Commissioner Mick Fuller said today was a chance to reflect on the courage and commitment of all officers who have died while serving.
“We lose officers in the field in very difficult circumstances but we also know there are times when the burden of policing is too much for some and it’s important that we recognise those as well,” he said.
“Today should be a day that’s about inclusion.”
Queensland officer killed on frontline honoured
Queensland police officer Senior Constable Brett Forte, killed in the line of duty, was honoured at the national memorial in Canberra and through a march in Brisbane.
The father of three was shot dead in May when a gunman opened fire on police officers in the Lockyer Valley, west of Brisbane.
He is the only officer to have died during service this year.
An engraved touchstone bearing his name was added to the National Police Memorial honouring his sacrifice.
It sits alongside another 11 names of officers who are being honoured retrospectively, following research by police.
In Senior Constable Forte’s home state, hundreds of police personnel marched through Brisbane’s CBD.
Senior Constable Forte was awarded the Queensland Police Service Valour Award for his sacrifice in the line of duty.